For 44 years, Houstonians have flocked to iconic jewelry supplier Bellaire IW Marks Jewelers looking for fine jewelry, luxury watches and a personalized and hyper-attentive service. The local pillar at 3841, boul. Bellaire. has been a timeless symbol of elegance, as familiar as the cherished advertisements featuring the charming founder, Irv Marks.
But, like the exquisite hands of a Franck Muller watch, time flies – and the boutique follows suit. Owner Brad Marks (son of beloved Irv) has announced plans to completely renovate the familiar 7,500 square foot space. The new boutique will feature striking chandeliers, luminous stone flooring, elegant display cases, modern furnishings and a wide, open feel.
This new look, courtesy of Houston-based Identity Architects, will also include a bar, private viewing room and lounge. Plans are for the makeover to be complete by fall, according to Marks.
“The whole pattern of thinking is that retail jewelry is changing,” Marks told CultureMap. “How does it change? Now customers and staff are together; customers can walk up and look at things on the wall. It’s not, ‘I’m the seller and you’re the customer.’ Now we’re friends, and it’s “Let’s look at rings and watches.”
With these dramatic changes, one wonders what dear Irv would think. “It’s funny you ask that question,” Marks said. “One thing my dad always said was ‘you have to evolve and if you don’t evolve, you’re not going to survive.’ He would love this look.
To complement the renovations, Marks is adding a host of new luxury brands, including Michael M, Konstantino, Memoire and Lashbrook, and watchmakers Franck Muller, Carl F. Bucherer, Angelus and Oris.
While the updates aren’t new (the most recent was in 2017), this is by far the most ambitious makeover for Brad Marks, who took over the family business in 2008 (40 years after it was launched by Irv of the 500 square foot store). He and his wife Joanna have become fixtures on the Houston philanthropic scene, watchful stewards of Marks’ legacy and patrons of firefighters, first responders, and more.
In order to make room for new deliveries, Marks is offering a 70% discount on select favorite brands. (Perfect timing for Valentine’s Day, one might note.) In keeping with the service-oriented approach, Marks is ensuring the store stays open during renovations and says he’s excited about the updates, which are aimed at ‘client experience.
“We want customers to feel at home and part of the family,” he says. “Without customers, we have no store.”