Gary Sanchez began his journey in the jewelry industry while in the Coast Guard in 1984, stationed in St. Petersburg, FL. It was there that he began selling jewelry when a man bought his gold chain off his neck, who then proceeded to tell him how much he liked jewelry but didn’t enjoy shopping for it. Unlike his first unofficial customer, Sanchez realized he actually enjoyed shopping for jewelry and finding the best values. His Coast Guard crew began asking him to do their jewelry shopping for them, and his business was born.
Today, Sanchez’s store, Diamonds Direct – located in St. Petersburg – has been in business for 34 years. Sanchez and his wife Cheryl have been successful in gaining many valuable customers – some that have become family – through the unique, genuine and valued in-store experience they offer to customers.
Diamonds Direct holds many in-store events and experiences, on top of everyday offerings that keep customers coming back. The store is eye-catching before even stepping inside, with real fish tanks serving as the window displays – an attraction to visitors and locals. Once inside, they always offer coffee, wine, champagne and two choices of beer on tap, as well as daily chocolate chip cookies and chocolates. Every weekend, they serve Cheryl’s personal sangria recipe that customers love.
While the everyday at Diamonds Direct is special, so much so that they frequently give tours, the store is well-versed in hosting many elaborate events. See some of the impressive events they have put together and perhaps draw some inspiration for your store as well!
Diamonds Direct has recently held a ladies’ night – which included an Alexis Bittar trunk show – in which a portion of the proceeds went to Alpha House of Pinellas County. Along with shopping the fun, trendy designs of Alexis Bittar, customers enjoyed catered light bites, wine, champagne and raffles throughout the evening.
The men have not been forgotten! They were able to enjoy their own evening of jewelry-shopping, complemented with cigar rolling and whiskey tastings. While some in the area find it not always easy to shop, the store provided wish lists to help purchase the perfect gifts for their significant others.
The holidays are an exciting time of year for Diamonds Direct – they definitely seem to compete for the neighborhood’s best holiday party. With 200-300 people in attendance, it is no small gathering! During the party and throughout the season, the store has a snow machine to add to the holiday spirit, and don’t forget about pictures with Santa!
Last year, one lucky party-goer won a $500 shopping spree, and they also included a free money giveaway that involved grabbing as much money as one could within a certain amount of time. Customers had the chance of winning up to $25,000! Talk about “Happy Holidays.”
We are thrilled Diamonds Direct decided to share with us in our Spotlight On: Retail Experience journey to highlight all the amazing things they do to create such a special experience for customers. If you are a Luxury retailer that does something similar, even if it’s just offering coffee or hosting VIP events, let us know! Learn more and submit your store details here for a chance to have the spotlight on your retail experience.