TIPS FOR A WINNING ENTRY
Want to learn how to create a winning entry? Read INSTORE contributor Josh Wimmer's blog posts that give you step-by-step information on how to increase your chances at becoming an America's Coolest Store. Click on the links below.
2016 RULES AND INSTRUCTIONS
Retail jewelry stores in North America and the Caribbean that have not been previous America’s Coolest Stores winners (those featured in the August issue of INSTORE or as monthly Cool Store magazine features). Previous winners may enter other store locations, and they may enter if their winning location has been substantially renovated, modified or expanded since being featured in INSTORE. Businesses must have been open for retail sales for at least one year prior to entering. Entrants’ Jewelers Board of Trade credit reports will be checked during the month of April 2016. Entries scoring below FIN2 are ineligible to move on to the final round of judging.
Stores will be divided into two categories based on the stores’ number of full-time employees, not including the owner(s), once all entries have been submitted and verified by the staff of INSTORE. Big Cool and Small Cool divisions will be determined once all the entries have been submitted and verified.
Visit americascooleststores.com and create an account. Doing so will allow you to save a draft of your entry and update it later as needed. (To access your entry after creating an account, use your email address and password under Login.) In order to be considered for the competition, entrants must complete all required fields in the entry form (general information, online presence and store stats) and submit the following materials:
- Store history / bio. No more than 250 words.
- What’s cool about your store? No more than 250 words.
- What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned as a retailer? No more than 250 words.
- Three fun facts about your store. No more than 250 words.
- One out-of-the-box idea you’ve implemented this past year. No more than 250 words.
2. 3-12 color images of the store’s exterior. (JPEG files only, 900K-2MB each in size.)
3. 6-12 color images of the store’s interior AND ONE IMAGE OF YOUR STORE’S OWNER(S). (JPEG files only, 900K-2MB each in size.)
4. Marketing samples - 3-12 of print, radio, billboards, stationery and collateral. (Image files should be JPEG or PDF format, under 2MB each in size.
5. Radio spots and videos (optional). Provide up to five YouTube (or other similar Web-based audio/video hosts) URLs on the lines provided. Note that the entry form will not accept audio or video files directly this year.
Until March 15, 2016, you may log in to edit your entry by going to americascooleststore.com and clicking on “LOGIN.” If you forget your password, click on the link in the “LOGIN” page to request it.
Step 1: From all initial entries, finalists in each division will be selected by INSTORE’s editors.
Step 2: Our panel of industry-expert judges will be divided between the two divisions and will rate each finalist from 0-100 in six categories: story, exterior appearance, interior appearance, advertising and marketing, store website and overall individuality.
Step 3: Total scores are calculated weighting the categories according to importance: story 50 percent, exterior 75 percent, interior 100 percent, advertising 50 percent, online presence 25 percent and individuality 100 percent. The top five stores in each category are then determined.
Winners will be notified in early June. The top three stores in each category will be featured in the August issue of INSTORE. Honorable Mentions in each category will be featured in subsequent monthly editions of the magazine through June 2017. Entering the contest indicates an understanding that a reporter will interview the store owner, manager and staff and that the store is expected to provide high-resolution images of the store and owner(s) for publication. Winners will be permitted to use the Amrica’s Coolest Stores logo, in their promotional materials, indicating they have been chosen as such by INSTORE magazine.