Woodcliff Lake, NJ: There’s no doubt that e-commerce over the past decade has presented challenges and dare we say threats to brick and mortar retail stores across the globe. An article published in April 2019 on cnbc.com highlighted the following statistic: “The total market share of ‘non-store,’ or online U.S. retail sales was higher than general merchandise sales for the first time in history, according to a report from the Commerce Department this week.” We’ve seen large chain stores like Toys R Us close their doors in large part due to online shopping. Independent stores have taken a hit as well.
However, one store in Bergen County called F. Silverman Jewelers has remained unscathed by the internet. In fact, the place is thriving after 25 years in business including 1 year in a brand-new location. We think there are many reasons for the success including the following from a jewelry-industry perspective:
Possible industry advantages aside, here’s why we think THIS small business may be working so well.
When you first enter F. Silverman Jewelers, you might feel like you’ve taken a nice big dose of Prozac™ and that’s a good thing. The vibe is sparkly, uplifting and looks more like an art gallery than a jewelry store. The design is modern and chic, not what you’d expect from a traditional store.
“We wanted to create an atmosphere that was non-traditional and non-intimidating. The traditional jewelry store, like our first store we had for 24 years in Montvale, had a typical wrap around rectangular counter. The staff would stand behind the counter to help you with your jewelry selections. That can sometimes feel intimidating,” says Kristin Krell, co-owner of F. Silverman Jewelers. She owns the store with her husband Stewart Krell. The two have been married for 26 years.
The new store in the Tice’s Corner Marketplace in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey has just celebrated 1 year in business. “This location is set up more like a museum so it’s less intimidating. Jewelry is showcased for its true art and beauty. Employees are moving around freely so much so that you don’t know who’s the customer and who’s the employee. We want people to feel comfortable, un-pressured and delighted. So, if you’re not interested in buying and just want to look, that’s great. People can see what we have without feeling pressured to buy something,” says Kristin.
“We owe the credit for the beautiful look of the shop to our interior designer Casper Zac of Casper Zac Design,” says Stewart. Stewart also shared that their sales are up by 40% over their former location.
So, with the last name of Krell, where did the name “F. Silverman” come from?
Kristin shares, “We named the business after Stewart’s maternal grandfather Fred Silverman. Fred was a butcher, not a jeweler but we wanted to honor the family in this way. My mother in law came to work with us and was there from the start for us. We also liked the flow and the sound of ‘F. Silverman Jewelers.’”
How does Stewart Krell, long-time jewelry expert and gemologist, determine what pieces to buy for the store?
Stewart explains, “We carry pieces above and beyond the standard and basic. Our clients generally want something different and perhaps artistic to show they’ve had a successful life. They want jewelry that they can wear to kids’ soccer games or to date night on a Saturday. They want to get good use out of it. When I look for something, I look for something unusual with good value. People are going away from a lot of the designer names. They’d rather have the actual value- not thousands tacked on because of a name. We work with a lot of stylists who have the pulse on what’s hip and cool and chic, fun, new and exciting.”
What were a couple of “feel good moments” in business for the Krells?
What advice would Stewart and Kristin give to someone starting out in the jewelry business?
And, for someone looking for an engagement ring, the Krells give the following tips:
For more information on F. Silverman Jewelers, check out www.fsilverman.com.