An Engaging Experience

It’s not just about the sparkle. When The Diamond Galleria by Rogers has its grand opening at the corner of Vogel and Burkhardt roads on Nov. 7, the building that managing partners Tyna Wheat and Sharon Sartore envisioned about two years ago will be full of substance, too.

There will be the Sylvie Collection, one of the few ring lines designed by a woman for a woman. There also will be the Le Vian® line, famous for its exclusive Chocolate Diamonds®. Rounding out the bridal section at the new, 6,500-square-foot structure will be popular brands like AJaffe, True Romance, Romance Collection, Love Story, The Promise Collection, and Harout R., among others. The store also will include jewelry by fashion-forward companies like Doves, Alex & Ani, Honora Pearls, Hershey’s Kiss, Juno Lucina, Sirena, and Chamilia.

It’s all part of a luxury-end, new business model for Rogers, which has been in business for 79 years.

“Making you happy is everything to us.”

That’s the business philosophy of Wheat and Sartore, who both were born, raised, and live here locally. After all, for many couples, buying an engagement ring isn’t an easy choice. It may take many visits to many stores, before a soon-to-be bride selects her ring.

With a collection of more than 10,000 loose stones, customers will be able to choose the shape, color, and clarity of their stone to create their perfect piece of jewelry. In the Custom Design Studio, customers can design personalized rings to mount their diamond into a wide selection of designer brands. Their selection is viewable on a computer screen that offers close-up views of the ring.

“No matter what they are looking for, we are going to have it, and they won’t have to wait to see it,” Wheat says.

Wheat and Sartore are friends who have worked on every detail of the store’s design, from the four islands containing display cases, to a circular perimeter of showcases with sit-down bridal cases and display units on the wall. “One of them is the Le Vian® Chocolate Boutique™, which no one else has,” says Sartore. There also will be freshly baked cookies and specialty drinks in another area of the store.

“It’s all about the customer experience,” Wheat says. “We’ve been planning this store for years. We want it to be a warm, inviting, relaxing environment.”

As the president of the Diamond Galleria by Rogers, Wheat specializes in the merchandising and marketing efforts of the business. Sartore, the CEO, manages the financial and operational aspects. Wheat and Sartore were invited, in 2008, to join the Leading Jewelers Guild, an alliance of independent jewelers. Wheat serves on the Buying Committee, which merchandises for the entire group of 45 jewelers across the nation and assists members with marketing ideas. Sartore has been asked to assist the Leading Jewelers membership by considering different financial companies to provide financing to customers.

In all, the new jewelry store will employ more than 25 people. Managing the store is Bethany Lutch, who has experience managing another jewelry store in Iowa. A jewelry repair center inside the facility will staff three full-time jewelers. A Sparkle Bar will offer cleaning and polishing services using the latest technology. Local resident Lance Embrey will be the Design Studio manager and master craftsman. He has worked with Rogers for more than 10 years and had worked in the jewelry industry in Indianapolis.

Sartore and Wheat want their clients to have a choice of jewelry that is stylish, cutting-edge, and very meticulously made and designed. And that’s what they will have with lines from companies like Sylvie and Le Vian®, for instance.

“(Wheat and Sartore) were introduced to us through another of our authorized retail partners, and I met them both in Las Vegas in June at the 2013 JCK,” Sylvie Levine says, referring to the leading jewelry event in North America that is open to all jewelry professionals. “It felt like we knew each other forever, and I could immediately tell that we had the same commitment and passion toward jewelry and our customers.”

Sylvie creates customizable engagement ring designs using conflict-free diamonds. “Every woman who wears a Sylvie ring is an individual, with her own personality and unique sense of style,” she says. “That is why the Sylvie Collection is known for flexibility, and every ring can be customized to fit her style and taste, allowing it to become a personal symbol of her passion.”

Meanwhile, a representative for Le Vian® says the Chocolate Boutique™ at the Diamond Galleria by Rogers will become the destination place for Chocolate Diamonds®. These natural diamonds are predominantly found in the Argyle Mine in Australia.

“It’s all about the emotional appeal because the Chocolate Boutique™ looks like real chocolate bars,” the representative says. “It’s all about infusing a taste and a flavor that appeals to many women.”

In the end, the new store that will have a soft opening on Oct. 13 wants to offer stunning jewelry for all precious moments.

“We don’t just want to sell people engagement rings,” Wheat says. “We want to be part of their life.”

“You don’t get that just anywhere,” Sartore adds.

The Diamond Galleria by Rogers grand opening on Nov. 7 will include vendors from New York and Los Angeles. The grand opening will benefit one local charity in some way, though the store intends to be very charitable overall.

In fact, Wheat and Sartore have created their own collection of merchandise called Journey of Hope, which is inspired by the cancer ribbon. “We had several employees who were recently diagnosed with cancer, and this inspired this collection,” Wheat says. “I worked with several designers in New York to create pieces that would allow us to help fight this disease. Proceeds from the sales of this product will go to cancer research.”

The Diamond Galleria by Rogers will be open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.

The new store was designed by Artco Group of Miami, Fla. Carl Conner of Conner Architecture was the Architect of Record. Jennifer Scales-Stewart from Y Factor Studio was the interior designer.

“The great people that have worked with us and for us — and for a lot of them that’s been 10 years-plus — have just been invaluable in this whole process and contribute greatly to the success of this venture,” Sartore says.

For more information about the Diamond Galleria by Rogers, call 812-477-1388. The website is in the process of being created.

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