Advertisement

Inside a Brand-New Rolex Boutique at One of the L.A. Area’s Best Jewelers

Sanat “Sunny” Bhindi stands in the middle of a swanky new watch and jewelry boutique owned by his family business, Bhindi Jewelers, a Southern California retail mainstay with deep ties to the state’s South Asian community. As he gestures to the brand new furniture and displays, the diamond bezel and diamond pave dial of his 40 mm white gold Rolex Day-Date catch the light.

It’s mid-December and Bhindi is hosting a grand reopening party for its newly renovated 4,850-square-foot store in the Glendale Galleria. A cohort of clients is enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the boutique as well as in the Rolex showroom next door. Bhindi opened the latter in late September in a 2,000-square-foot space adjacent to its store.

More from Robb Report

Bhindi Jewelers Rolex Showroom
Bhindi Jewelers Rolex Showroom

“We started the construction during Covid,” Bhindi tells Robb Report. “And of course, it was one bad thing after another. But now we’re here.”

To call the renovation a labor of love is putting it mildly. The original 2,750-square-foot Glendale boutique opened in late 2013, but more than three years ago, the jewelry and watch retailer—which has four locations, including one in Atlanta, Ga., as well as its flagship on Pioneer Blvd. in Artesia, Calif., aka “Little India”—moved into a temporary space 20 feet away so renovations could begin.

Bhindi Jewelers Glendale Boutique
Bhindi Jewelers Glendale Boutique

“We had 17 people working in an 800-square-foot office plus the retail area, which is not even 1,500 square feet,” Bhindi says with a sigh.

The family-owned retailer has come a long way since Karsanji Bhindi, a goldsmith who emigrated from India to the Fiji Islands, founded it in 1952 in the Fijian capital of Suva. The company opened its first North American location in 1975 when Karsanji’s three sons—Vinod, Jayent, and Dhanesh, whom Sunny, a member of the third generation to run the business, calls “the dads”—expanded to Canada.

In 1984, the dads saw an opportunity in Southern California. They opened a 700-square-foot store in Little India and never looked back.

“We now have five brothers involved in the business,” says Sunny (whose father is Vinod). “I was the first one to join in the third generation in the U.S. There’s myself, my brother Ron. We’ve got Ashwin, Ketan, and Hitesh, who’s on the East Coast. We all work together. And people ask us, ‘What’s the secret?’”

“The secret is we go on vacations together,” he adds. “We think alike, we know each other really well. We’re best friends. Look, in any family business, you’re going to have issues. But we’ve been brought up to learn that if you have an argument, the next day, nothing happened. So that’s the beauty about our family. At the end of the day, we know we’re all equal.”

Bhindi Jewelers Rolex Showroom
Bhindi Jewelers Rolex Showroom

An authorized dealer of Rolex since 1998, Bhindi has long been a destination for lovers of the Crown, but the Glendale store’s selection of other high-end watch brands includes all the heavies: Cartier, Tudor, Omega, Breitling, Grand Seiko, Zenith, TAG Heuer, and Nomos.

“Rolex was the first watch brand we carried,” Bhindi says. “But originally, when you look at our DNA, our business is jewelry. And jewelry is still a big part of our business.”

At the Bhindi flagship in Artesia, “we probably have 6,000 diamond SKUs in stock,” Bhindi says. “All natural. No lab-grown. We’ve decided as a family, we are not going to sell lab-grown. We’ve always specialized in high-end quality. We do everything 18-karat. Everything is VVS. Everything is EF colors. Any stone that’s above a 30-point is certified.”

Bhindi Jewelers Glendale Boutique
Bhindi Jewelers Glendale Boutique

That commitment to quality is evident in the company’s approach to everything from the layout of the Glendale showroom to the selection of products it carries. “The beauty of the store, the way it’s designed, is that if someone’s walking by, they can see inside the store through all the windows,” Bhindi says. “We wanted to make sure that people can see from all directions.”

He pointed to the lounge space within the Rolex salon, where booths in the brand’s signature green line the wall, and explained why Bhindi opted for a lounge format as opposed to the more traditional table seating.

Bhindi Jewelers Rolex Showroom
Bhindi Jewelers Rolex Showroom

“Because we’re in the mall, we get a lot of traffic, so we need to really open it up,” Bhindi says. “We have standing areas and standing bar stools. We wanted to spread out the watches based on traffic.”

The layout is in keeping with Bhindi’s family-oriented culture. “The store was officially the first Rolex store in the U.S. to have what they call a family room. We have a desk and a sofa. Look, our clients come in and they’ll bring the family. We love the kids to come in. There’ll be children asking, ‘Can I please try that?’ And my staff lets them. Maybe they’ll be future customers?”

The Glendale showroom marks Bhindi’s first renovation since 2017. “Every 10 years, we renovate every store,” says Bhindi. “That’s our rule. But for now, this is our showpiece.”

It’s an uncertain time in the luxury business, but Bhindi isn’t worried. “Historically, as a company, we’ve never had a downturn,” he says.

“No one knows what’s going to happen in the market,” he adds. “The last three years have been unreal for everyone in retail, not just jewelry, but any retail business. I have spoken to a lot of people where there’s been a change in sales for a lot of industries. And so far, we haven’t felt it. But I know people are coming and saying, ‘Hey, things are slowing down.’ Yeah, we’ll see.”

Best of Robb Report

Sign up for Robb Report's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.