Jason Coats, brother Richard and sister-in-law Sonia Coats should all feel proud of their jewellery store in Spalding.
Element 78 Jewellery, in Market Place, would easily fit in on any town or city centre high street which is exactly the way the trio who own it would want it.
We liked the feel of it and the shop lends itself to drawing people in so we decided to take the plunge and open it as a jeweller’s againJason Coats, Element 78 Jewellery, Market Place, Spalding
The shop marks something of a homecoming for Jason who started his near 30-year career in the industry at Dryden Jewellers, the family-run business that now houses Element 78 Jewellery.
Jason said: “I was walking past the careers centre in Spalding one afternoon when a lady came out and called me in, saying ‘I think we’ve got something you might be interested in’.
“There was a job going at Dryden’s as an engraver and the owner asked me to come in and see him if I could.
“I had an interview there a few weeks later but, at first, I didn’t get the job.
“Three or four months later though, the owner contacted me again and offered me the job
“I started work as an engraver in 1988 but got more and more involved in the shop as the engraving side of things got less and less.
“Eventually, I became the shop’s manager in early 2003 before I left in 2007.
“But even though it was always in the back of my mind to have my own business, never in a million years did I think it would happen.”
Despite leaving Dryden Jewellers, Jason kept his connections with the family intact by spending nearly five years working alongside Sarah Grundy, great-granddaughter of William Dryden who founded the business, at her own store in Spalding.
But when the chance came for Jason, Richard and Sarah to bring the jewellery trade back to the site after Dryden Jewellers closed in 2008, the Element 78 Jewellery concept was born.
Jason said: “I was forever getting comments like ‘something fresh is needed’.
“So when the opportunity came up, it was a quick decision for myself, Richard and Sonia to make to look round the shop together.
“We liked the feel of it, even though it was a little weird coming back to where I first started working and a lot of refurbishment was needed.
“But the shop lends itself to drawing people in so we decided to take the plunge and open it as a jeweller’s again.
“We started looking into what brands we could stock, but the hardest part was finding a name for the shop that was related to jewellery.
“There were so many names that we went through, including family names.
“But Element 78 stood out because it’s the number for platinum on the periodic table (used in chemistry) and we thought it had a nice ring to it as well.
“We opened the shop at the end of November 2016 and we had a nice December when we saw lots of old faces, many of whom are also friends.”
Element 78 has jewellery from British, French, Italian, German and Danish designers, along with repairs, watch batteries and gift wrap services.
A team of four part-time staff work work with Jason, including Claude Holding who also worked at Dryden Jewellers.
Claude said: “Jason and I used to work together at Dryden’s, where I started working in 1998, and we’d always kept in touch.
“I started making my own jewellery after studying it at college for two years so my background is the same as Jason’s
“When he told me about the new shop, I was excited and really keen to help in an industry that I know and love.”
The next priority is to build up the shop’s online business to add to its growing awareness among shoppers in Spalding.
“We see lots of people going past who then look up at the sign, look in the window and either come in or move on,” Jason said.
Claude said: “Element 78 Jewellery is the type of shop you would expect to see in places like Norwich and Cambridge which, hopefull, will encourage others to do similar sorts of things.”
Element 78 Jewellery co-owner Jason Coats believes a combination of the “classical and up-to-date” is the pathway to success for the Spalding shop.
Jason said: “Our displays are eye-catching and creative, there is jewellery here to suit every pocket and we stock brands that aren’t available elsewhere in the town.
“But it’s also important that we’re up to date with the latest jewellery fashions, as well as stocking some classical pieces and more traditonal items.”
According to the UK retail Industry Report 2016, jewellery sales rose from £5 billion in 2008 to £7.3 billion in 2014 leading analyst Kashmira Gander to state that: “To connect with (customers), firms need to consider new values such as ethical sourcing, value for money and sustainability”.
Jason said: “A gentleman who had never been in the shop before came in and said ‘what a lovely shop you’ve got’.
“Most people have said how nice it is, compared to how it was before and it’s hardly recognizable from how it looked before refurbishment.
“People are pleased to see the building being used in a nice way, but you also need to be thinking ahead as well.”