Building the Store: Lights, Sparkle, Sales Action
Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 March 2010 06:01 Written by Eileen McClelland Friday, 05 February 2010 03:25
INSTORE follows the construction of Gail Jewelers, a new store in Newport Beach, CA.
For Barry Benowitz, who opened a new, 2,800-square-foot Gail Jewelers store in Newport Beach, CA, on Dec. 10, lighting is the big issue and the one he has worked hardest at perfecting over decades in the business.
“If the jewelry doesn’t sparkle, it’s much harder to sell,” he says. Benowitz worked closely with lighting consultant Kent Sheridan to get exactly what he wanted. “In a jewelry store, you have to light the customer and the jewelry in the display cases and the jewelry when the person is wearing it, so that when she is looking at that earring in a mirror, it sparkles.” The jewelry has to look just as good outside of the case as inside.
The solution? Kicker lights — directional illumination in the ceiling. It worked only because GE recently introduced an HID (high intensity discharge) 39-watt bulb with a 4,000-degree Kelvin rating. “Before, there was no light to do that. 3,000 Kelvin was too yellow — inclusions pop out and the stones look dirty. But when you get up to the 4,000-Kelvin range it masks the inclusions.” Ninety-two of those bulbs were installed (four above each case.)Custom fixtures allow the bulbs to tilt to illuminate the customer.
In addition, there are 48 1-watt LED bulbs running the length of each case (12 bulbs per foot).
“The secret to making the jewelry sparkle is multiple-point sources of light,” Benowitz says. “The LEDs create so much sparkle that even a little teeny piece really looks like something.”
Once the strips were built, Benowitz commissioned a local company to engineer brackets to hold the LED strips in place. He also needed to run wires through hollowed-out legs of the cases to power the LED strip.
Is Benowitz happy with the results?
“We couldn’t be more happy until GE makes a 5,500-Kelvin light source (the equivalent of daylight) — maybe in late 2010. The ambient light is great in the space so the HID light really blends in nicely.”
10 LIGHTING TIPS FROM BARRY BENOWITZ
1. Never buy any lighting without trying it out first in the location with jewelry. We installed test lighting in the ceiling before making the final decision.
2. Be involved in lighting decisions. Lighting designers know where to place the lighting for clothing stores and offices — not jewelry store display cases … they just don’t get it.
3. Make a template of your jewelry case layout on the floor and use a laser from the floor up to the ceiling to mark the exact center of every light fixture you’re going to install so they are positioned perfectly above each case.
4. Don’t forget the lighting above a wall mirror.
5. Always insist on seeing the manufacturer’s specs on how the lights hold their color. Most lights start off bright and white and die out quickly over a short time.
6. LED lighting will not work in the ceiling at this time unless your ceiling is no higher than 3.5 feet from the top of the case.
7. Submit the lighting plan to the city via an electrical engineer so you can meet energy-conservation requirements and the code compliances in your town or city.
8. Have all your lighting controlled by a relay system to turn off and on at designated times.
9. Put the case lights and ceiling lights on different circuits so you can keep lights off during dead times of the day.
10. Lighting can be the most expensive part of the store building process, so shop hard for the best deals.
This story is from the February 2010 edition of INSTORE
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