Diamond Gallery’s old-fashioned values and contemporary practices prove that it pays to use both sides of the coin
by Corrina Mosca
by Corrina Mosca
Sometimes, the best things in life are born from the most unexpected pairings. After all, as the old adage says, opposites attract. However, in our competitive, fast-paced era, it can be hard to divide one’s focus between two opposing sides. This is especially true when it comes to the marriage of the
most famously contrasting pair: the old and the new. As the jewellery industry phases into the technologically-assisted world of tomorrow, it is important to stay focused on the past. In many cases, joining the values of both the old world and the future are the key to success— something that Winnipeg’s Diamond Gallery knows to be true. With its “old-fashioned” customer service and forward-thinking principles, this business has mastered a balancing act that will keep it steady for years to come.
The old and the new
Founded in 1992 by Anita and Allan Malbranck, Diamond Gallery has a long history in the business—despite its relative newness. Allan got his start in the business in 1970, apprenticing in goldsmithing, engraving, and diamond buying at his father’s shop, Al’s Jewellers. Soon enough, Allan fell in love with his work. After getting involved in the industry, he became the youngest-ever president of the Manitoba Jeweller’s Association.
“My work at Al’s and with the Jeweller’s Association allowed me to learn from industry veterans about character, proper practices, and ethics,” says Allan. “Those lessons made a truly lasting impression on me—one that I have carried into our business today.”
After years of managing Al’s, Allan went on to start a new business venture with Anita. Inspired by a passion for bespoke customer service and beautifully designed jewellery, the two laid plans for Diamond Gallery. Soon after the store’s inception, the couple was joined by their daughter, Lisa. Today, the triumvirate offers comprehensive client services in gold and platinum, including consultation, design, vertically-integrated manufacturing, restoration, and on-site lab analysis by accredited appraisers. Together, Lisa and Allan produce custom Diamond Gallery designs.
“We don’t ever want to turn someone away, as long as they love precious metals, we will accommodate them at any price range.”
Part of the whole
As lifelong Winnipeg residents, community has always been at the forefront of Diamond Gallery’s operations—something our industry forefathers would admire. Since its inception, the retailer has worked to better the lives of locals
through charitable initiatives, with its own personal touch. “As proud Winnipeggers, we truly believe in giving back to our community.
For us, it’s about creating relationships, whether it be with our clients, or local charities, schools, hospitals, and organizations,” says Anita. “We realize how essential small businesses are to creating strong communities. It is a crucial
part of what we stand for.” Each year, the retailer works closely with the Winnipeg Harvest food bank, as well as a variety of youth- and family-based organizations. It also invests in the world of arts and culture, offering its support to associations that sponsor programs within the community.
“Giving back to our community is essential to us,” adds Lisa. “First and foremost, we are members of our community, and it’s our fellow Winnipeggers that support our business. Now, more than ever.” For Diamond Gallery, part of serving its fellow citizens comes from offering perfectly tailored customer service.
All in the family
Rather than looking solely to industry fads to amp up its in-store experience, Diamond Gallery returns to its roots: the good old-fashioned mom-and-pop shop. “Truly, we dene ourselves as an old-fashioned customer service business in that we, the owners, provide it ourselves,” explains Anita. “We really do have a vested interest in our clients. We want them to feel comfortable in our
store.” To ensure that their clients feel right at home, the Malbrancks have gone above and beyond to create a pleasant, hospitable environment. The moment a customer walks through the gallery’s glass doors, he or she is greeted by one of the owners and offered a piping hot cup of French roast coffee. “Our overarching goal is to create a catered experience for our clients, one that is built to their wants and offers everything they need,” says Lisa. “When it comes to buying jewellery, it’s a purchase that often is a little intimidating, so we really want to make people feel at ease.” This is also reected in Diamond Gallery’s price points. With certain pieces starting at just $59, the boutique is able to cater to anyone—and everyone— who wants to work with the team. “We don’t ever want to turn someone away,” explains Allan. “As long as they love precious metals, we will accommodate them at any price range.” However, it’s not just the business’s prices that are diverse. On a day-to- day basis, the Malbrancks cater to a wide range of personalities, with their clients spanning ranges in age, stage, and lifestyle. “We see everyone in our community, from young, newly-engaged couples to older jewellery collectors; from the guy who leaves his work boots at the door to the banker that arrives in in his bestsuit,” says Lisa. “To me, the best part is that regardless of who they are, they consider us their jeweller for life.”
Looking to the future
This sense of endurance and longevity permeates all aspects of DiamondGallery’s business. Since its inception, the retailer has worked to achieve sustainability through a multidimensional focus on social, environmental, and economic issues. In this aspect, the business’s model is an incredibly timely, modern one. For this brand, a sense of consciousness has been built from the ground up, starting with the building it is housed in. Diamond Gallery was North America’s rst jewellery store to open in a sustainable building, making it a true pioneer in the industry. With energy-efcient lighting and water xtures, geothermal heating, recycled xtures, and “green” leasing agreements with tenants, Diamond Gallery has taken a multifaceted approach to ensuring its operations are environmentally conscious. And, it plans to do so for the long haul. “When we designed this building, we did so for the purpose of long-term sustainability, with a projected lifespan of 100 years,” notes Allan. “This ties into our goal of economic sustainability; we wanted to ensure we could operate in an eco-friendly manner for decades to come.” It doesn’t stop there: the brand’s design work is also eco-friendly. The team has committed to using conict-free and Canadian diamonds, sourcing jewellery quality recycled gold and platinum for its Diamond Gallery designs, and eliminating rhodium plating from most of its rings. What’s more, the Malbrancks encourage consumers to recycle and repurpose old gems, remounting them into contemporary pieces. “Simply put, sustainability is just part of our makeup. It’s integral to everything that we do, and it has been that way since we rst opened our doors,” notes Allan. “The world is so fragile, and we want to minimize our environmental impact.”
In perfect contrast
With its seamless merging of the old and the new, Diamond Gallery has found the equation to success—one that has been recognized on the national level. This year, the company was named the Independent Retailer of the Year by the Retail Council of Canada, solidifying its position as an innovator in the industry. “We were very honoured and surprised to win, and we’re humbled as well—especially since we are the rst jeweller to be recognized with this distinction,” says Anita. “We believe that independent stores are invaluable to Canadian retail. To be chosen amongst all Canadian independent retailers is wonderful.” Simply put, Diamond Gallery proves that in order to succeed, all sides must be taken into account. For this retailer, the past and present aren’t at odds with one another; truly, they are best used in tandem.