Wixon Jewelers and Continental Diamond are both husband-and-wife owner-operated jewelry stores that have created a loyal following in Bloomington and St. Louis Park, respectively.
Wixon specializes in fine jewelry and watches—they’re the Twin Cities’ go-to place for Rolex, Patek Philippe, and the like. “There’s nobody that can touch us with watches,” says owner Hope Wixon. The jewelry case is of a similar ilk; while the selection changes, it’s standard practice to have a $300,000 sapphire or a $1 million diamond neckpiece in stock on the showroom floor.
“I think we have a larger selection, a more cutting-edge selection,” says Continental owner Helain Pesis. At Continental, variety is paramount, so not only do they claim to have the largest assortment of loose diamonds in the Twin Cities, they also have broader price points than Wixon. “Somebody can walk in and spend $100 or $100,000,” Pesis says.
Continental’s customer base is 25 to 65 years old and the store is aiming to snag more millennials with a recently launched lower-price boutique area. Wixon’s clientele skews toward a 35- to 65-year-old clientele, most of whom are small-business owners themselves.
“To me, [Continental] markets to that person who’s a step above the chain stores," says Wixon. “We focus on pure luxury and quality. The beautiful thing about it is they have their niche and we have ours, and that’s probably why they do well.”
With eight-figure annual sales, says Wixon, “we’re by far the biggest store in Minnesota. We’re kind of like that hidden gem.”