2020 Nominee Two: Julz by Alan Rodriguez

2020 Innovation: Julz by Alan Rodriguez

Julz owner Alan Rodriguez’s devotion to the downtown area is noticeable, but so is the design of his store. With a unique look, Julz can be easily seen by those driving the streets of Canton.

“It’s different than other luxury retailers,” Alan said. “Not only with its location, but with its contemporary thinking, too.”

The store’s immaculate architectural details showcase Alan’s innovation. It is a world-class jewelry store that has won several national awards because of its unique collection and modern approach.

A lasting memory, even during a changing landscape

Julz was named “America’s Coolest Jewelry Store” by InStore magazine and one of the “Best Jewelry and Watch Retailers in America” by Harper’s Bazaar. It is known for its memorable and unique appeal. Customers can view jewelry in natural light while looking at the gemstones in a modern-like art gallery.

Demonstrating its originality, Julz also has the first electric vehicle charging station in front of the store. This modern approach is why customers visited the store after lockdown. With more engagements, Alan was happy to see people contacting him because of their exceptional reputation and modern taste.

“Brick and mortar stores need to be relevant in a way that the Internet can’t compete,” Alan said.

Alan’s service department gets more than 200 jobs per week. The store’s custom jewelry design is well-known. But, while contemporary in thinking, Alan respects the traditions of the jewelry industry. His staff creates exceptional experiences for customers by providing them with jewelry that creates lifelong memories. Every piece of jewelry can be an heirloom for future generations.

“We are servicing several generations and are grateful to be experiencing these important times with each of them,” Alan said.

How it all started

Alan first got into the jewelry business when working for Gasser Jewelers. This is where he learned the value of fine jewelry and quality service. About 11 years later, he bought a business in New Philadelphia, called The House of Stones, which is still part of the name to this day. Alan operated the business as a standalone for 20 years.

In 2007, Alan opened Julz in downtown Canton. One of the challenges with being downtown was the parking. With the acquisition of the community-owned credit union, Julz was able to renovate the store and create a contemporary look, thereby providing additional parking. Canton has been reinventing itself, and Alan was able to show how forward-thinking Julz could be, too.

“We strive to be the very best we can,” Alan said. “So, we are appreciative to be nominated for the Entrepreneur of the Year Award. It keeps us focused on our mission and purpose.”