TAMPA — Tiffany & Co. unveiled a newly remodeled and relocated store at International Plaza mall Tuesday. The luxury jewelry brand moved to a more centralized spot on the second floor of the mall adjacent to Bay Street.
"The traffic patterns have shifted. There is a lot more traffic in that particular environment," said Jonathan Bruckner, market vice president of the southeast region for Tiffany, and who is responsible for the development of the new storefront. "We want to be in the best place to showcase our brand."
When Tiffany & Co. first opened at International Plaza in 2001, many of the high-end brands such as Coach and others were clustered in their own "luxury corridor" on the east wing of the mall near Neiman Marcus.
Since then, the mall has changed with retailers shuffling in and out, though there are still a mix of upscale lines in that area. The evolution of Bay Street with a host of restaurants, bars and a valet car service is a hub of activity and ultimately enticed Tiffany & Co. to move closer to it.
"We are fortunate that we are in an industry where people love to touch and feel our product," Bruckner said. "Even if people do their research online they still come in the store. They want to see it and feel it."
The focus of the new store is to provide an "experiential delight," Bruckner said, who has been with the company for almost 25 years.
The 4,110-square-foot store is across from Louis Vuitton, illuminating a massive facade that customers can view from nearly every direction.
The store offers two main sales rooms, one for fine jewelry, which includes the engagement and high-end selections, and fashion jewelry, which includes more causal pieces and accessories. There is also a private sales room, a customer service pod and soft seating available throughout.
The renovations feature updated finishings, aesthetics and décor with the traditional "Tiffany Blue" and gray color pallet. The fine jewelry showroom touts silver circular display cases and dramatic chandeliers, illustrating a modern, high-end look.
"It is time to modernize," said Bruckner, who was the Tampa store's first director. "The store has held up quite well. But, as we evolve, our brand must continue to grow and be successful."
Customers can also view the company's special archive collection, which documents the company's 180-year history. One of the selections include the 27.21-carat Arkansas Diamond, the third-largest uncut diamond found in the United States in 1926.
Tiffany & Co. has struggled to remain relevant in the competitive luxury goods shopping segment. New corporate management at the company is trying to update the brand's image and reach younger audiences by boosting its social media presence and working with celebrities like Lady Gaga and actress Elle Fanning. The remodeling of some stores is another component of that.
"For us, we are trying to do the best that we can do: be the best brand, focus on being consumer centric and deliver the best experience," he said.
This is the only location in the Tampa Bay area, though Tiffany & Co. has 10 others in the state. The store remained open throughout the renovations.
Contact Tierra Smith at tsmith@ tampabay.com or (414) 702-5006. Follow @bytierrasmith.