When designing a store, says Ruth Mellergaard, you’ve got more to consider than just the showroom.

So you are moving your store.  This is very exciting but nerve wracking as well.  How do you start?

First, what services do you offer (retail, repairs, custom design), and what functions do you have in your store now (jewelers’ area, diamond room, a staff room, safes, etc.)?  Analyze what you have and how it works. Then – how can you improve it? Contrary to a few years ago when the mantra was “retail, retail, retail”, because of the diversity of services and goods jewelers offer now, we are allocating more room to support spaces. How you operate dictates how the space is laid out and how easy it is for you to make money.

Let’s leave the showroom for another day and discuss the back areas, starting with the location of safes or a modular vault. Easy in and out is paramount.  If having a modular vault is on your wish list, don’t forget the option of purchasing a used one – less money but established size.

Next, the jewelers’ area – should it be visible to your customer?  You can separate the “dirty” functions from the clean.  If it is a new idea for your shop to be visible, discuss this with your jewelers.  Some training may be necessary.  Don’t design your shop to suit your present custom / repair business, design it for growth.  A design / custom center can be located close to the jewelers. If you have a separate CAD room for designing, make sure customers can see in.  3d printer – love it and it fascinates customers.  Let them watch it but keep it clean. Everything about a visible shop must be immaculate.

If you have a watchmaker, dust is the enemy.  This artisan must be separated from the jewelers and the store.  It is worth giving customers a view through a window because not many stores have watchmakers – this service is premium!

A customer bathroom is an appreciated option.  Make sure it is designed to accommodate the latest ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards.  Don’t forget to provide water.  In new and extensively renovated buildings, drinking fountains are required.

ADA (the Americans with Disabilities Act), revised in March 2012, establishes criteria including certain space for doorways, bathrooms and vestibules.  The guidelines to which you must adhere influence planning decisions.

What about the support spaces?   Try to make the staff room large enough for a full sized fridge, sink, dishwasher, cupboards and a counter with a stove or at the very least a microwave.  On top of the facilities, provide somewhere for staff to sit – a table or counter.  It might be possible to have the staff seating area big enough to double as a conference / training room.

The manager’s office should face the floor.  Make it 8 feet x 8 feet minimum so there is room for a desk, some files and a bookcase.  One or more owner’s offices should be planned for, 8′ x 10′ is a minimum if you would like a couple of easy chairs.  Bookkeeping, inventory management and online marketing could all be in one office as long as there are sound absorbing qualities in the room such as a lay-in tile ceiling.  Room for files is imperative.  Get rid of old deep ones and replace with 18″ deep lateral files – more storage, less floor space.  Lastly, don’t forget space for storage – holiday decorations take up space plus space for paper goods and past customer files need room.

That’s it folks.  Good luck and consider hiring a professional once you’ve done your due diligence.

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