A Jewel Box Redo – Old-Line Jeweler Refreshes

HOUSTON – (By Cynthia Lescalleet for Realty News Report) – A venerable jewelry store in Houston is getting a new setting.

I.W. Marks Jewelers, now in its second generation of family ownership, has plans to renovate. The shop occupies 7,500 square feet in a 1948 shopping center Bellaire Boulevard, between Rice Village and Bellaire.

Company founder, the late Mr. Irving William Marks, opened the store in 1978. Mr. Marks passed away in 2008.

Identity Architects designed the luxurious new space to respond to changes in retail as well as in the jewelry business, said Kevin Hamby, senior interior designer on the project.

Jewelry Display Cases – The 2022 Version

As an example, the jewelry display cases will have access from all sides so that inventory can be viewed like in a museum or art gallery. This visual access helps clients better assess a piece before making a decision, he said.

The new layout also means the sales team will be out from behind the counter and on the same side of the display case as the client – both physically and metaphorically, said store owner Brad Marks. “The interactions will be as friends and trusted colleagues rather than clerks with keys to a locked glass box.”

Meanwhile, brands will have their own spaces. “The retail jewelry industry today is competing with large department stores for the same customers, so shops are being smart and improving their personal shopping for customers and designing a “shop within a shop” for their brands,” Hamby said.

By way of comparison, look at cosmetics departments, he said. They have been operating this way for decades. The approach lets clients shop many brands at the same time. “It is also an opportunity for strong identity from the different brands.”

Plans indicate a higher ceiling and opened up floor plan as well as more natural light from uncovering some external windows. The layout includes several seating areas as well as a private viewing space and fully-stocked bar “to properly celebrate our clients’ momentous occasions,” Marks said.

The showroom’s new interior finishes will be light and neutral colors with luxurious finishes, such as porcelain Calcutta marble for the floors. Walls will feature bleached gray wood tones. The same wood will frame sections of floating ceiling.

Essential Lighting: “If the rock doesn’t sparkle then it doesn’t sell.”

Lighting is understandably essential in selling jewelry, Hamby noted: “If the rock doesn’t sparkle then it doesn’t sell.” Toward that goal, plans call for 36-inch ring lights to punctuate the overhead expanse and augment the natural light from the storefront windows.

The revamp start date is pending. Construction documents have been issued.

Following its recent liquidation of inventory to make room for new lines, the store intends to remain open to the public throughout the renovation, offering all services such as cleanings, sizing, custom design, Marks said. The showroom will be open, but will operate within limited space and with sections closed at different times.

Completion is anticipated in the fourth quarter of 2022.

That would be just in time for any holiday proposals.

April 7, 2022 Realty News Report Copyright 2022

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Photo credit:  courtesy of Identity Architects

File: A Jewel Box Redo

Fiole: (2) Bellaire Boulevard,. A Jewel Box Redo. I.W. Marks. Identity Architects


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