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Downsizing, But Upscaling, Works For PA Jeweler November 11, 2020 (0 comments)


Wyomissing, PA—Moving plans were already well underway for Van Scoy Jewelers outside of Reading, PA, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit last spring. But instead of putting plans on hold, the pandemic lockdowns allowed the jeweler to get fully settled into the new space in time for the state’s phased reopening plans. While the shutdowns threw a few kinks into the moving process—both contractors and deliveries were delayed—all in all, owner Caroline Hill lost about a month and held a soft opening in early June after leaving her old space in early May. The Reading Eagle recently ran a feature article about the new store. Image: Van Scoy Jewelers owner Caroline Hill, center front, with her team.

Van Scoy Jewelers once was a franchisee of Van Scoy Diamond Mines, but it’s been independent since the 1980s, Hill said in the article.

The store’s new location is a freestanding building that Hill purchased, as opposed to the former space in a shopping center where the rent had skyrocketed. Although at 2,600 feet the new store is smaller than the old, big windows on all sides and the shape of the space makes it feel bigger and allows for a more functional placement of showcases and workstations.

“The old store was long and narrow and dark,” Hill told the paper. 

This is the second time the store has moved in its 45-year history. The original Van Scoy Diamond Mines was located on a busy “miracle mile” highway on the northeast side of Reading, where its retail neighbors were mainly low-end discount stores.

Hill had gradually been repositioning the independent Van Scoy Jewelers upscale, and most of the store’s customers were coming across from Reading’s more affluent northwestern suburbs. So when a new shopping center anchored by the region’s first Target store opened up in that area 20 years ago, it was a natural place to go.

But as the rent kept rising, Hill began to think about being her own landlord. She ran her customer data and saw that even within the upscale northwestern suburbs, one zip code stood out as the place where 80% of her customers lived. It was time to move again.

She purchased a former medical building on Penn Avenue in Wyomissing, the main shopping street that runs from Reading city (where it’s called Penn Street), through tony West Reading and Wyomissing. Her new location is near Reading Hospital, a major regional medical facility, but beyond the most congested part of the avenue where traffic and parking can be a challenge, she told the paper.

Like other luxury jewelers, once Hill reopened in the new location in June she’s found the pandemic has boosted sales because customers are spending travel dollars on jewelry. And engagement ring sales are especially strong. Naturally, she’s taking all necessary precautions regarding masks and social distancing, and offers appointments for customers who are nervous about going out in public. 

Read more here.

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