'Historic day' at Nebraska Crossing Outlets for Borsheims

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Posted: Friday, November 15, 2013 12:00 am

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It was a day of many firsts at Nebraska Crossing Outlets — the state's first Kate Spade New York store, its first fully-digital mall — but it also was a signature day for Omaha's iconic jeweler, Borsheims.

Borsheims Boutique, a 5,500-square-foot outlet store targeting younger, value-conscious shoppers, opened its doors at the Gretna mall.

“This is a very historic day in our history. We haven't had a second store in a hundred years,” said Susan Jacques, president and chief executive of Borsheims.

The Boutique is a new concept for Borsheims, but value is not, Jacques has said.

Throughout the day, a steady stream of window shoppers and buyers filed into the Borsheims Boutique to peruse the diamond, pearl and gemstone jewelry that sparkled and winked inside the bright glass cases. The store has about a dozen employees who were helped Friday by another dozen from the main store.

Many store visitors described the Boutique as a cozy or “miniature” version of the Berkshire Hathaway-owned jeweler's Regency Parkway store. “It's a little more intimate,” said Jana Palmesano of Omaha.

“I like this much better. It's smaller, but it still has variety and it's cheaper,” said Nina Brummer of Gretna, extending her wrist to display a pearl bracelet she had bought at Borsheims Boutique for $65.

The Boutique's comfortable atmosphere was an important design feature, intended to be inviting to people who had never shopped at Borsheims, as well as to longtime customers. The store's interior is decorated with the same tile, carpeting and color scheme as the Omaha flagship store.

“We tried to re-create the Borsheims feeling,” said incoming chief executive Karen Goracke, who helped supervise the recent installation of the store's 7,000-pound vault. She and Jacques spent most of Friday at the Boutique overseeing its first day in business.

Although the Boutique is about one-fifth the size of the Borsheims store at Regency Parkway, it offers everything from $15 items to $20,000 jewelry, Goracke said.

As Stephanie Hansen and her mother, Jean Nore, both of Grand Island, Neb., peered into the glass cases in search of “a little something” to combine with heirloom rings, Hansen said, “It's way more than I thought it would be. I didn't expect it to be a fully-supplied store.”

The Omaha World-Herald Co. is owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

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