Just in time for Chanukah shopping, Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry has opened its new flagship store in Metairie, outside Lakeside Shopping Center.
At 10,000 square feet, the freestanding store is more than twice the size of the store that was inside the mall since 1996. Chad Berg, co-president, said it is “an opportunity we have been working on for over five years,” and “we are really excited.”
The expanded space “allows us to put our best foot forward,” as “our goal is to give every customer an extraordinary experience, no matter the amount of the sale.”
The “Extraordinary Experience” includes fine gems, loose diamonds, timepieces and gifts sourced from around the world, and a team educated and accredited by the Gemological Institute of America.
While “our business in Lakeside was the best it has been,” Berg said “we wanted more space and visibility.” The flagship location allows them “to really put our flag down.”
The new location has two entrances — one of which is dedicated to the Rolex collection.
In addition to Rolex, there are boutiques for David Yurman, Tudor, Roberto Coin, Tag Heuer and Mikimoto, as well as offerings from Marco Bicego, Temple St. Clair, Lagos, John Hardy and Ippolita.
“It’s unique to have all those brands all in one store,” Berg said.
There is also an expanded bridal counter, a watchmaker shop, jeweler and full-time appraiser on site. The new store features a seating area for customers, and several beverage stations.
They pride themselves anticipating a customer’s needs, being able to provide expert advice on jewelry, the design of custom pieces or the care and repair of tender pieces that are family heirlooms.
Lee Michaels began in 1978, as Lee Michael Berg and his wife, Brenda, moved from Dallas and chose to open a store in Cortana Mall in Baton Rouge. Chad Berg said his father started with loans from family members and his own savings, and “started from not knowing a soul in Baton Rouge,” but quickly became involved with the local Jewish community.
The company expanded to Shreveport in 1981, then Lafayette and Jackson before opening in Metairie.
“We are constantly looking to innovate and grow,” said Lee Michael Berg. “We have enjoyed our Lakeside location for the last 25 years, but it was time to enhance our customer experience and the environment in which they shop.”
Each of the nine stores — there are two each in San Antonio and Baton Rouge — has either been renovated in the last five years, or will be in the next few years, to make sure they are “best in class,” Chad Berg said. Stores in Shreveport and Baton Rouge recently completed extensive renovations. Next year, the firm will open their 10th store in San Antonio, at the Alamo Quarry.
Chad Berg is co-president with his brothers, Ryan and Scott, as the second generation of company leadership. He is in charge of Metairie, Lafayette and Jackson, while his brothers take care of the Shreveport, Albuquerque, San Antonio and Baton Rouge locations. “We feel fortunate to have each other to lean on, especially the last few years,” he said.
“We have been a part of this community for over 25 years, and with this expansion our commitment to this city is greater than ever,” he added.