NATIONAL JEWELER 19 Knowing consumers were loving the jewelry they were making in-house, the Gardners said goodbye to more than 10 brands—some were difficult goodbyes since they had long-standing relationships— and revamped their own marketing. “Right after we did that, I think we had a year of 25 percent growth,” David says. He designs a line for the store and takes on custom, one-of-a-kind projects for customers as well, both of which offer something the Gardners feel shoppers can’t find anywhere else. In fact, John Henne, president of Henne Jewelers in Pittsburgh, liked one of David’s designs so much—a cross pendant that incorpo- rates an infinity symbol—he started carrying it in his store. The jeweler’s designs run the gamut, from what he refers to as “vanilla with sprinkles” to what they like to call “DG Crazy.” “I’ll have people put 80 percent of their budget into DG Crazy and drop the diamond to only be 20 percent [of the cost] so they can get the DG Crazy, because they want different, unique, crazy — a conversation piece,” he says. The store’s design also adds to the unique experience David Gard- ner’s Jewelers & Gemologists can offer. It is meant to have a welcoming, interactive feel that allows clients a peek behind the curtain, with the bench jewelers working in the middle of the store in the design studio and the showcases radiating out around them. “When you come into their store, for the person who’s interested in having something made, one-of-a-kind, you instantly get the feel- ing … that these people are experts,” Bromberg says. TexasA&M alumnus Logan Lee, a former guard on theAggies bas- ketball team, got to know the couple when he bought an engagement ring from them as a student. Now, a decade after graduating, he works with them in a professional capacity because they advertise on the website for which he works,TexAgs.com. He says the design center is one of his favorite parts of the store. Continued on page 20 caption TK DAVID AND JULIA GARDNER 2019 RETAILER HALL OF FAME The setup of David Gardner’s Jewelers & Gemologists gives customers a peek into the design process, with the retailer’s bench jewelers seated in an open design studio located in the center of the store.