32 RETAILER HALL OF FAME 2017 L ee Peterson always considered Urban Outfitters to be an innovative retailer, but when he walked into Space24Twenty, the brand’s new lifestyle concept location in Austin, Texas, he realized the extent of its prescience. Looking at the mixed-used courtyard and gathering-place-cum- store, he thought, “Urban Outfitters is serious about understanding digital natives—this new store really is just space,” recalls the exec- utive vice president of WD Partners, a firm comprising strategists, designers, and architects who focus on the in-store experience. At Space24Twenty, a food-truck-filled courtyard greets guests, who can sit in front of a fire pit, sip a beer, surf the web for free, or listen to bands playing on a nearby stage. If visitors do feel like shopping, they can peruse a selection of jeans that isn’t too far away from the social scene. “Urban Outfitters understands that this is what lifestyle retail- ing is about,” says Peterson. “And if this is what retail is coming to, then it’s a completely different thing that jewelers need to talk about and understand.” For sure, the landscape of commerce is changing at an as- tounding pace. Many stores struggle for relevance in an omnichannel envi- ronment that rewards those with curated collections, compelling narratives, and clever brand-focused touches like custom scents. Those unable to differentiate and innovate become irrelevant and, in many cases, are forced to close their doors. Last year more than 1,000 jewelry-specific retailers in the United States and Canada shuttered, according to data from the Jewelers Board of Trade, reinforcing the fact that sales success is a familiar and ongoing struggle. The answer? An open mind, forward thinking, and taking direc- tion from prosperous peers are all part of it. Also on that menu: a slice of humble pie. When asked what it takes to be a successful merchant today, National Jeweler 2017 Hall of Fame inductee Jean-Christophe Bé- dos, the president and CEO of Birks Group, told National Jeweler during the interview for his profile in this issue: “Those who are INNOVATION Nation