From Burnside Village to Highgate
Can you believe it’s December again? PIKE Jewellers is celebrating its third Christmas in the new location at Highgate. Wow the time has flown!
It seems like it was only yesterday that we celebrated our last Christmas at Glenside, and in May of the following year everything was being packed up at the Burnside Village store and we were all beginning a new journey. As you are aware from my previous blogs, we had moved stores a number of times over the previous four decades but this move out of Burnside Village was unlike the others. It was one of the most heart wrenching and devastating events I have experienced.
We had been tenants for 14 years and we reached a situation where trade had slowed, the GFC had affected most luxury items, and added to that gold prices had soared. It became a situation we couldn’t control. Our overheads remained the same, but our turnover had severely dropped, so something had to give. We had to leave.
As I have previously talked about and to go back a couple of years, in the early 2000’s we opened a wonderful gallery on Greenhill Road at Glenside and it was the reinvention of the Nicholas Pike brand. After a number of years on Greenhill Road we were offered a new opportunity by Andrew Cohen of the Cohen Group to move into the heart of the Burnside Village in a location where the Village Florist and the Engraver used to be. The plans involved combining the two spaces and creating a linear retail space fronting the Village Square and bordered on the northern side by the walkway through into the large Atrium Mall. There was space upstairs directly above the retail store to house our workshop, so with the installation of a dumb waiter linking upstairs to downstairs we rented the space, it all made sense. We moved again.
We had always admired the Burnside Village precinct as a retail location and I had designed and made jewellery for members of the Cohen family – because we knew them we approached the move with a positive mood. What drew us was the climate of the Village and its ambience. In its original form, it represented a group of sole traders who were inspirational and to be found nowhere else in Adelaide. It was like a big family of like-minded shop-owners with similar goals and aspirations. We had tried to relocate there a number of times and this seemed to be the right time.
Again we called on our architect and friend Paul Gillett to assist us with the design of our store and he excelled. Grieve Gillett Architects won an award for our retail fit out, the second retail store award and to me celebrated the successful partnership between Paul and ourselves.
He used elements of the store on Greenhill Road to link the looks of both stores and with a refreshed palette created an elegant and contemporary space which identified us as a destination with a difference – no ordinary jewellery store.
We rode a wave of success continuing to create the most beautiful jewellery for a large percentage of Adelaide’s quality conscious clientele and during the years we were there I won many awards for jewellery excellence and continued to create eye-catching windows. We were twice winners of Retailer of the Year for Burnside Village and also received other prizes for Excellence in Store Presentation, Customer Service and Management’s Choice.
Sadly after nearly a decade and a half our business was failing for the reasons I have already mentioned. There didn’t appear to be any way that we could continue, and Helen and I had to make the hardest decision of our entire business career and close our doors. The week that we closed is a time I will never forget. We shocked so many people with our news and the compassion of clients and how they showed it was overwhelming. On one of the final days, a customer came to the upstairs workshop where we were cleaning up and told me to go downstairs to see what was there.
I commented that the store downstairs was now closed but she insisted I needed to take a look. Tied to the doors were flowers, cards and gifts of love and friendship and although I get very emotional reading them it is rewarding to know that we meant so much to so many. I don’t think anybody in business could have asked for such genuine concern and I was grateful and sincerely touched by the outpouring of emotion. I think it reinforced in me the knowledge that we have a clientele that celebrates our ability to create meaningful jewellery of the highest quality and that they join with us in pursuing excellence.
People stop me today to comment how much they miss my windows and say that the location where our store was will never been the same. I miss it too sometimes but life is ever-changing and a successful and resilient person moves with the times and creates new opportunities.
I have learnt to treasure the memories but they shouldn’t overwhelm the way forward – learn from your past, understand the reasons for what happens and move on. A well-used phrase – hindsight is a wonderful thing, is very true and we learn new and valuable lessons every day. The strongest glue during the whole process was our wonderful family and without our close bond the outcome would not have been so positive. Years earlier when our kids were heading overseas we had a family photo session with Simon Casson and I have included a couple of pictures that I Iove.
Unfortunately these did not include our beautiful daughter-in-law Nadine, however here is a lovely one of her celebrating the Architecture Awards with us.
Amongst the many whimsical, topical and beautiful concepts I created at Burnside Village I wanted to share some of the Christmas inspired ones with you. From a Christmas Princess complete with feathers, diamonds and tulle to a sparkling shooting star.
Also, I used fragments of the Christmas front window displays caught on film by Simon Casson as the themes for our yearly Christmas cards. These days I hand draw them, and I have also included a photo of my latest for 2016 Christmas.
In closing for this year please have a safe, relaxing and enjoyable festive season and I’ll be in touch again in January 2017. Remember to value life’s experiences and love your family – they are so incredibly precious. Tell your loved ones as often as you feel it that you love them and never ever stop!
Lots of love
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