2010-03-24 / Profiles

Lily’s Jewelers shines bright in tough economy

BY E.I. ROTTERSMAN news@floridaweekly.com

OK, by now most people know the economy is going through a challenging time. With unemployment hovering around 14 percent and foreclosure now a common household word, some luxuryoriented businesses tend to suffer.

But one upscale jewelry business has seemingly defied the grim odds and is even having its best year ever.

Lily & Co. Jewelers on Sanibel, a couture jewelry store and art gallery, is experiencing a 32 percent increase in revenue since last year, which co-owners Dan Schuyler and Karen Bell said was great too.

Mr. Schuyler, said the nearly four-yearold company, is a multi-million dollar

business drawing new clients daily.

“We have tremendous growth each year,” he said. “We have diversified our portfolio so well.”

A combination of friendly, knowledgeable and well-trained staff, strong community involvement, diversified inventory and a menagerie of loveable pooches help create Lily’s success.

SCHUYLER SCHUYLER And if anyone thinks that upscale jewelry and dogs don’t go together like peanut butter and jelly, then they have never stepped foot inside of Lily’s Jewelers.

Lily, a Labradoodle and the store’s namesake, along with canine pals Gracie and Angel, yellow Labs, are the official store greeters, Mr. Schuyler said. He owns Gracie and Angel. Lily belongs to Ms. Bell.

“It’s all about the dogs,” Mr. Schuyler said with a chuckle. “We’re blessed that were able to bring the dogs to work. It creates such a nice atmosphere for customers. There isn’t a day that people don’t come by just to see the dogs.”

Recently, a woman from out of town stopped by the store and said she did not like jewelry and just wanted to see the dogs. A little while later, she bought a diamond bone pendant necklace and revealed to the staff that she had just lost her beloved dog.

BELL BELL The dogs help create a non-intimidating environment but it’s Lily’s staff that help make those who enter the business customers,

According to Mr. Schuyler, the staff is personable, professional and all certified by the Diamond Council and The Gemological Institute of America — a world authority in gemology.

And Mr. Schuyler and Ms. Bell consider Sanibel more than a place they derive their income from. Both are board members for local nonprofits such as the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, People United to Restore Our Rivers and Estuaries as well as sponsors and supporters of fundraisers for other service-oriented organizations.

Each year Mr. Schuyler and Ms. Bell hold a birthday bash for Lily. The event, held in May, draws a large crowd of pet lovers who partake of food and poochoriented festivities and a raffle. Proceeds raised from Lily’s past birthday parties have benefited the Animal Refuge Center. Mr. Schuyler even raffled off his own car for charity at last year’s birthday party.

The store, located at 520 Tarpon Bay Road on Sanibel, will be featuring its popular Easter egg hunt on Saturday, April 3, from 2 to 4 p.m. Children will be able to hunt for eggs that contain candy and certificates for loose gems totaling $30,000, Mr. Schuyler said. There will also be a costume contest for children and a visit from the Easter bunny is expected.

The Easter egg hunt and Lily’s birthday party are among numerous events held by the store during the year.

“One of the things we love about our store is it is truly a community venture,” Mr. Schuyler said. “We give back. It comes full circle.”

The store itself is chock full of sparkling confections and baubles for all price ranges and tastes. For under $50 a parent can get a child a sterling silver seahorse as a keepsake of their island visit.

The shop features a men’s collection of jewelry, glassware, art by local artists including vintage paintings by Myra Roberts and its extensive designer and couture collection of one-of-a-kind jewelry, For those looking for an elegant line of jewelry, the Martin Flyer collection showcases handcrafted pieces with multicolored diamonds. The store — which is listed on the Historic Registry since it once stood as the island’s school for African American children in the early 1900s — expanded recently to accommodate customers’ requests for jewelry and gifts. Jewelry, wall art and giftware start at $25 and can run up to a half million.

“We expanded to cater to everyone,” Mr. Schuyler said. “We meet everyone’s needs.” 

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