Commercial Construction & Renovation

MAY-JUN 2017

Commercial Construction & Renovation helps our subscribers design, build and maintain better commercial facilities by delivering content to meet the information needs of today's high-level executives.

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THE DISRUPTORS What is your growth plan? What areas are you targeting? We are hoping to add 40-50 stores to the U.S. market. We intentionally don't have a rigid set of parameters for these locations at this point, as we want to review all variables on what has and hasn't worked with the first three locations. Our presumption is that we would target hip, urban, mixed-use centers. What trends are you seeing? Retailers are really stepping out of the traditional model and mixing things up. Spaces are becoming not only a place to shop, but a place to hang out and be social. I'm also seeing a lot of pop up and mobile shops that are allowing retailers to reach consumers beyond the traditional bricks and mortar. Change is happening and it is very exciting. What is the secret to creating a "must visit" retail experience in today's competitive landscape? Uniqueness, innovation, surprise. People are tired of the same old thing, they want something that is different, inspires them and really connects with them. What's the biggest item on your to-do list right now? Prepping for the next round of stores. We have a lot of work to do to prepare for a successful rollout. I am lucky enough to be leading the charge with a fresh slate and an exec team that really supports me. I want to lay all the ground work now so that when they hit go we are ready to create the most beautiful diamond store experience possible. Describe a typical day My days are all over the map right now. I can typically be found reviewing RFPs, tending to maintenance requests, reviewing feedback, redesigning/ reengineering store elements, and creating process and procedures. I'm also working on improving our Canadian stores through an LED lighting retrofit and renovation planning. And, of course, there is always time to stop and check out a diamond or two! What do you see as some of your biggest opportunities moving ahead? Thanks to the successful launch of Spence Diamonds in the high-traffic locations of San Jose, Calif., Austin, Texas and Scottsdale, Ariz., the company intends to open stores in other major U.S. markets during the next several years. Spence also sees its Artisan Created Diamonds as the future of diamond jewelry. In being ethical, sustainable and higher-quality option, Artisan Created Diamonds have the potential to be the primary choice of purchases. Are you optimistic about what you see in the retail sector? Yes. Although the industry is continuously changing, I don't see it going anywhere. I find it exciting. The consumer is evolving, shopping experiences and expectations are changing, and this keeps us on our toes. It means we have to get creative, try new things and think outside the box. Building a store is building a store, but when you have to reinvent your approach, it keeps you engaged. Why did you pick the locations you did for your stores? There were a lot of long conversations about where was best to enter the U.S. market, to sum it up, our target market is there, the right real estate opportunity presented itself and it made sense from an operational perspective. 32 COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION & RENOVATION — MAY : JUNE 2017

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