Ross-Simons’ Jewel Box


Internally lit showcases at varying heights offer a path of discovery at Ross-Simons.

Ross-Simons’ tradition of providing exceptional quality jewelry at affordable prices is reflected in the design of its new store in Providence Place Mall, Providence, R.I. The 2,500-sq.-ft. space is beautiful and luxurious, but approachable and never intimidating.

“It has a simple elegance that is very appealing,” said Tracy Zaslow, director of store design and construction, Ross-Simons, Cranston, R.I. “There are a lot of nice details, but it’s not too fussy. Overall, it has a much more contemporary attitude, which is helping draw customers from a wider audience without alienating our core base.”

Zaslow is encouraged by reaction to the prototype. Two additional stores are in the works—one a relocation and the other brand new—based on the design.

“Also, operationally it’s right on,” Zaslow added, “which is important for me because I also handle maintenance. It really came out as a solid package all the way around.”

The design, by Chute Gerdeman Retail, Columbus, Ohio, relies on different finishes and other details to provide a shop-like experience. The cases are positioned at different heights to provide customers with a feeling of discovery. In line with the company’s fashion-forward approach to jewelry, merchandise is displayed on modern pearlescent mannequins and forms.

“We tried to create a meandering path through the store,” Zaslow said, “and provide some sense of exploration. It’s different from the typical jewelry store with its straight case lines.”

Three contemporary-styled fixtures with curvy chrome-metallic legs are located in the corner windows, attracting the attention of customers and mall shoppers alike.

“The fixtures, which are elevated a bit higher than typical case work, are merchandised on both the storefront side and store side,” noted Steve Calhoun, senior designer, environments, Chute Gerdeman Retail. “They encourage customers to approach the storefront and see the offering, and help break down the boundary of whether the customer goes in or not.”

A rich color palette and dark wood veneer fixtures provide an upscale, residential ambience. The use of lighter finishes on the wall and lightly brocaded carpet help soften the mood. Metal finishes and a chandelier provide a note of sparkle.

Much of the inspiration for the design came from Ross-Simons packaging, which was recently redone. Platinum, rich chocolate brown and the retailer’s signature mint-green hues are found throughout the space.

“Chocolate was a special inspiration because buying a fine chocolate is not unlike buying jewelry,” Calhoun said. “It’s an indulgence, not a necessity and presentation is key.”

The chocolate color is featured in the carpet, pearlescent wallcovering and to set off the Rolex area, which has been moved to the front of the store. Set off with a glass-mosaic tile wall and rich brown curtains, the space has a sense of destination.

“Bar-height counters and stools make the area feel a little more masculine,” said Bess Anderson, director, visual strategy, Chute Gerdeman Retail.

The bridal area features a sit-down counter with a gentle curve, which is reflected in the ceiling soffit above. Upholstered chairs and lifestyle graphics add a residential feel and encourage customers to relax.

“The soffits, which flank the chandelier, have hand-done finishes that add depth and texture,” Calhoun said. “Along with the chandelier, they make the center area, which includes a showcase, a standout.”

Recessed compact fluorescents serve as the field light fixtures.

“We also used recessed metal fixtures, where we wanted more sparkle and to punch down on fixtures,” Calhoun said, “and recessed adjustable lights to highlight fixtures along the wall perimeter.”

In addition, all the cases and displays are internally lit.

“Lighting and energy codes are tough for some retailers, especially jewelers,” Calhoun said. “Fortunately, the code is written so that fixtures with internal lighting are exempt from the calculation, so that helped us here.”

To see more photos of Ross-Simons, visit

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