Reopened for Business: A Revamped RUSH

Last fall, jewelry designer Denis Mathews seriously considered closing Silver Rush, his nine-year-old retail shop at 81 Purchase Street. He went as far as putting a “Store Closing” banner in the window, but his “wonderful” landlady and longtime and newer customers prevailed upon him to change his mind.

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Published February 27, 2012 3:59 PM
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rushthumbLast fall, jewelry designer Denis Mathews seriously considered closing Silver Rush, his nine-year-old retail shop at 81 Purchase Street. He went as far as putting a “Store Closing” banner in the window, but his “wonderful” landlady and longtime and newer customers prevailed upon him to change his mind.

 

By Robin Jovanovich

Last fall, jewelry designer Denis Mathews seriously considered closing Silver Rush, his nine-year-old retail shop at 81 Purchase Street. He went as far as putting a “Store Closing” banner in the window, but his “wonderful” landlady and longtime and newer customers prevailed upon him to change his mind.

 

rush1“I got so much encouragement from everyone, especially my landlady who said ‘Rye doesn’t need another nail salon,’ that I sat down and came up with a new concept,” offered Mathews.

 

In the process, he came up with a new name for the store, RUSH. The look is “less silver and more contemporary classic jewelry.”

 

Another important change Mathews introduced is better prices. The tags on every item include both the recommended and retail prices.

 

“To do well in business today forced us to reexamine everything we do,” Mathews explains. “My plan is to offer a good product at a reasonable price.”

 

Having always done a brisk business in long necklaces with semi-precious stones, Mathews has added labradorite, aqua chalcedony, and drusy quartz (which sparkles like diamonds) to his design vocabulary.  And he’s growing accustomed to working with gold vermeil, “which if it’s well made is a fantastic alternative to gold.”

 

Fashion jewelry, not gold or silver, is a bigger part of the business plan. “Changing your look should be affordable, and it is at RUSH,” says Mathews. Prices start at $28.

 

rush2The long-range financial forecast is bright for RUSH. “I’m in a good position because I’m not buying from a wholesaler, I am the wholesaler.”

 

Phase 1 of the store’s renovation is done — the interior, which Mathews painted in a Martha Stewart gray. He’ll begin working on the exterior this spring.

 

As for trends to follow, the Irish-born jewelry designer, whose sister runs the family business there, says anything the Duchess of Cambridge (the former Kate Middleton) wears has a good chance of being the next big thing.

If we can offer any helpful advice to Denis Mathews, it’s disregard what F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote. There are indeed second acts in American life and we’re glad you are one of them.

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