Creating a £1m, three-storey jewellery destination in Winchester.
The news of Jeremy France’s £1 million shop relocation and revamp hit Professional Jeweller’s headlines in late 2013, promising three floors of thrills; from an open workshop and champagne bar (with Jeremy’s own-label bubbles), to a dedicated bridal lounge and bespoke, sweeping oak staircase.
“The shop opening has been my greatest achievement in the past year,” Jeremy says with a smile. “It’s been extremely tough and I’ve had to overcome many obstacles; no support from our bank and a Grade II Listed Building Planning Officer who was less than helpful.”
Nevertheless, from day one the business move showed extraordinary promise. Based on the high street of the picturesque Hampshire town of Winchester, the doors were opened for a VIP reception and, Jeremy reveals, guests were still sipping champagne into the early hours. “Curiously 70% of our sales were taken in the last three hours,” he adds drolly. By March, Jeremy and his team were celebrating further, having achieved their most successful December trading figures ever, followed by double turnover in January and February 2014.
“There has been one simple ethos to this project: to make something beautiful and lasting for all to enjoy and prosper. It’s been hard but against all odds, I think we’ve achieved it.” Local craftsmen were used for the new shopfit, creating the staircase and stained glass, retaining as much heritage as possible within the shop, including a glass panel in the floor which reveals a cellar and a 14th century staircase. The result is a space that feels bright and airy.
“It’s loved by not only the customers, but the staff too,” Jeremy says. “They have quiet corners to work on designs, a large staff room and a sunny courtyard to sit and listen to the bells of Winchester Cathedral.” Any spare space for the Professional Jeweller team..?
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