LONDONDERRY - A Londonderry jewelry store that prides itself on creating an inviting haven for customers with its soft lighting, cozy fireplace, overstuffed chairs and marble wine bar, hasn't gone unnoticed by a national trade publication.
Richter's Jewelry & Design Studio, located at 4 Orchard View Drive, made honorable mention on InStore magazine's "America's Coolest Stores" list for 2012.
The store is featured prominently in the magazine's February edition, and is the only Granite State store to make the cut, the publication said.
Honorees for "America's Coolest Stores" were announced this past August.
Amy and Paul Richter, who submitted their application for the contest several months earlier, opened their jewelry store on the other side of the Orchard Tree Mall about 20 years ago. The business was moved to its current location in November 2011.
A native of Pennsylvania, Paul Richter began working at a jewelry store when he was still in high school. After relocating to New England, Richter honed his design skills under the mentorship of Massachusetts jeweler Howard Cooper and began showing off his own creations at the now-defunct Gray Goose Shops arts and crafts store in Londonderry in the early 1990s.
The Richters designed their showroom to beckon store guests and help them feel at ease, with freestanding jewelry cases encouraging the flow of foot traffic.
On many days, one or more of the couples' three friendly bullmastiffs are on hand to welcome browsers with wagging tails.
The Deerfield couple said it was important to them to design a store where they'd both feel right at home, since most of their waking hours are spent at work.
"We certainly wouldn't see each other nearly as often if we didn't work together," said Amy Richter, who manages the sales floor.
The couple shares the floor with jewelry designers Jonathan Carpenter and Robert Lalus and longtime sales staff members Carol Josef and Lisa Kimberly.
Paul Richter said his work days involve long hours, and having plenty of help onhand frees him up to spend time in his workshop, where he designs colorful custom pieces.
About 60 percent of items sold at Richter's were custom-made onsite, Amy Richter said, though the store also carries items from designers like Kika Behar, Kelim, Raymond Hak and Doves.
Paul Richter said he's excited about making the America's Coolest list, even as an honorable mention.
"The stores that usually make the list are stores with a $6 million build-out in the center of Manhattan," he said with a grin. "So we're pretty happy, as a little independent business here in Londonderry, to have made the cut."firstname.lastname@example.org