Tiffany's opens store in Stony Point

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Tiffany & Co. cut its signature ribbon and opened its first store in Richmond today. The jewelry store has moved into Stony Point Fashion Park. But how will this high-end retailer fair in this tough economy? We talked with the experts.

Tiffany's is known for its gifts wrapped up in blue boxes and ribbon. Stony Point Fashion Park hopes Tiffany's will be a gift that attracts more customers to the mall.

It was breakfast at Tiffany's this morning, not in New York, but in Richmond. Tiffany & Co. has opened it's signature steel doors.

Said Diane Brown, Tiffany's Vice-president for the mid-Atlantic region, "We know we have many customers in Richmond that shop online or that come to our other stores, so we wanted a store that was convenient."

VCU business school's Dr. David Urban believes that Tiffany twinkle will meet Stony Point's goal, of catching customers' eyes.

Said Urban, "There will be a lot of initial curiosity. The issue really becomes what's gong to happen 6-8 months down the road."

Tiffany's is a high-end retailer, known for engagement rings. Offerings range from $65 charms to a $125,000 broach. Its challenge is opening in a rough economy.

Answered Brown, "I think in a rough economy, people look for something of value and something timeless."

But there's a gleam of hope. reports jewelry and watch sales rose 28% in the first half of 2011. That's after two years of declines. Now the competition is local.

Said Urban, "It's not like there's no competition for Tiffany's. We do have some high-end jewelers in the area that have an established clientele. So Tiffany's is going to have to steal from those competitors."

The store brought new jobs, filling just under 20 positions. Said Brown, "We've hired a wonderful new team, local to Richmond. The director of our store is a Richmond native. She was born and raised here and went to VCU."

And Urban expects Tiffany's to help Stony Point lure even more stores. "People who might have thought that the mall was maybe not on the upswing, are going to have second thoughts."

Tiffany's has 87 stores in the U.S., including one in northern Virginia.

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