Continuing with its series profiling America’s leading independent jewellers, Solitaire International spoke this week with the Denver-based retailer, Hyde Park Jewelers, which operates in several states including, Colorado, Arizona, and California. Damon Gross, CEO of the retail brand, Denver, shares his views with Solitaire International.
The Colorado-based company, Hyde Park Jewelers, is the result of a college days initiative by co-founder Michael Pollak. It all began in 1973, when, whilst studying at the University of Denver, Pollack bought $500 worth of pieces from Navaho, Hopi, and other Native American tribes, and established his shop on the lawn of the university in the spring and summer.
The initiative led to the opening of the first Hyde Park store in 1976, which Pollack launched together with the supplier for his college days initiative, Steve Rosdal. Pollack convinced Rosdal to join him to launch what he called a more contemporary jewellery store selling edgy pieces. They decided to call it Hyde Park. He eventually bought out Rosdal in 2007. Earlier, the duo had some experience working together. In 1972, they launched the Turquoise Trading Company. Two years later, they started a manufacturing company, based in Albuquerque, called the Silver Creek Company, which made silver jewellery and employed 60 people. As interest in the silver and turquoise markets faded, they launched Hyde Park.
Their first location in the Tamarac Square Shopping Center in Denver employed only two people, and its most expensive piece cost $300. It measured 1,000 square feet.
Today, Hyde Park Jewelers has become one of the top 25 independent jewellers in the US and its pieces sell for much higher prices.
Its flagship outlet in the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, features the region’s largest collections of designer jewels, Swiss watches, and bridal jewelry. The store measures 10,000-square-feet.
The focus is on Swiss watches and fine jewellery. Its offering includes more than 100 brands of fine Swiss timepieces, as well as designer and bridal jewellery, including brands such as Messika, Tudor, Temple St. Clair, and Roberto Coin.
Pollak took a step back from the multi-store chain in 2019 when he stepped down as CEO. He was replaced by Chief Operating Officer Damon Gross. Gross joined the company in 2007.
Since then, Pollack has focused on passion projects, including in 2019, launching a bridal boutique called Engage, an initiative aimed at Gen X and Gen Y, and Gen Z consumers. It relies upon a technology- and custom design-driven model.
Today, it has three Hyde Park stores in Denver CO (Flagship store at Cherry Creek Shopping Center); Newport Beach CA (Fashion Island); and Scottsdale AZ (Scottsdale Fashion Square). Each Hyde Park location has a Rolex shop connected to the store.
In addition, it has three mono branded watch boutiques in Scottsdale (Breitling, Hublot, and IWC), and three monobranded boutiques in Denver (Breitling, Omega and Engage).
Here’s what Damon Gross shared with Solitaire International:
What defines your company?
Exceptional products, people and experience coupled with the long-standing relationships we build with our clientele.
What was your route into jewellery?
It started with a watch my parents gave me for my Bar Mitzvah. It was the first time I wore a watch, and I just fell in love with everything about it, from the mechanics of the watch to the way it looked, and how it made me feel when I wore it. I began working at a friend’s jewellery store a few years later.
How is business in the US?
Our business is stronger than ever.
Do you sell more online or in-store?
Online is only a small fraction of business compared to instore, but it is a channel that we are concentrating on growing.
How have you adapted to the pandemic?
We launched a new e-commerce website and added new online communications channels to serve customers in their preferred method. We are also constantly evolving our merchandise selection based on client needs.
What smaller brands do you carry?
We have quite a few unique smaller brands that set us apart from many other jewellers including Spinelli Kilcollin, dinh van and Alessandra Dona to name a few.
Who is your clientele? How much do they spend?
Our client is anyone interested in acquiring watches or jewellery. We do not discriminate against the amount our clients want to spend. We are just as happy fulfilling the needs of a client looking to spend $100 as we are a client spending a million dollars.
Do you do business with India? How is your experience?
We do business with several diamond companies from India. In fact, 100% of our lab-grown loose diamonds and lab-grown diamond jewellery is from manufacturers in India. For several years, Hyde Park has had the pleasure of sourcing mined diamond jewellery from India as well.