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When David and Julia opened their new location on University Drive East in 2005, it was more than a labor of love. It was David’s personal insistence that the 31 staff members join as a team and offer input into how their new work environment would look, and what they’d like to see each day. Julia and David Gardner, together with David Shellenberger, designed the new building and Britt Rice served as contractor.
The staff brainstorming resulted in a “customer-first” focus. The group dynamics process resulted in a 7,500 sq. ft. building that, outside, is an attractive addition to College Station’s rapidly developing business area on University Drive. Inside, it’s anything but your typical jewelry store. InStore Magazine, the trade publication of the American Jewelry Store Owners, doesn’t think so either, having just named David Gardner’s Jewelers as one of the Top Ten in their national competition to find and honor what they call “America’s Coolest Stores.”
The honor is distinctive because nominations come from jewelry stores owners across America. David Gardner’s Jewelers is one of two Texas-based stores to be singled out.
InStore Magazine noted five key areas making David Gardner’s Jewelers one of America’s Top Ten Coolest Stores national competition. The first area was the Gardner’s unique themed parties they hosted as the store was being built and opened. The jewelry design studio in the store’s center, giving customers a real bird’s eye view of how jewelry is crafted was another. Julia Gardner noted “David led our team in brainstorming sessions to get their input on how every area of the store could be customer focused. The result is the product of our staff’s best ideas.”
Community action was also important to the team, and more than 100 community and Texas A&M organizations have benefited from the philanthropy that David Gardner’s Jewelers has been able to provide. David notes, “we can give back to our community because the exceptional people of Bryan-College Station have so enthusiastically supported our business for the past 24 years.”
Atmosphere was considered unique by the competition judges. The customer-first focus inviting a “shopping experience,” is safely in place, as customers can relax in comfortable leather chairs and enjoy beverages in a special lounge area. There, they can watch flat-screen TVs as custom jewelry is made in real-time, as it is broadcast on cameras attached to the jeweler’s work benches.
Custom DG designs, including the commissioned pin presented to former first lady Barbara Bush is another area mentioned by InStore Magazine as noteworthy. Saying thank-you and giving back to their hometown has been the Gardners’ keystone of business philosophy. “We are extremely fortunate to live and work here, where we grew up. We are proud to share this latest honor with the Bryan-College Station community, who made us successful. It’s a joy to give back to the people who gave us our roots and keep us strong as we grow, with their help. We may have been named “one of America’s coolest stores,” but we also know that Bryan-College Station is one of America’s coolest communities! Together, we excel.”