By Michelle Graff

When I first set out to write a story about the new Glennpeter Jewelers Diamond Centre in Albany, N.Y., I was really focused on the bar-in-store angle.

But as I interviewed Chief Executive Officer Jeff Weiss, it became apparent that there was another interesting story about innovation to be told: In crafting the store design, the owners kept customers' children in mind.

Located off the 7,000-square-foot store's main showroom—yet within the field of vision for watchful parents—is a "Wii room," named for the interactive Nintendo game system it is equipped with. It's a place where children can literally "go play" while their parents shop.

Perhaps even more interesting is the children's birthday party room, a room designed for just that: celebrations for little girls, as well as those ages 7-14.

9A_WEB_kids' party roomWeiss says he added the playroom feature as a nod to his now 12-year-old daughter who asked, simply, what was in it for her when her dad was pouring all of his time into the new store.

For a cost of $25 per head, little girls can enjoy an afternoon of pizza and beaded-bracelet making with local designer Donna Bates.

The birthday girl, tapped as the "little princess" for the afternoon, also gets to don a $25,000 diamond tiara, a bauble she also can let her mother try on but, Weiss says, usually doesn't.

"We do know every one of those little girls will be buying jewelry 20 years later," Weiss said with a laugh, when asked about the business angle behind the party room.

Moreover, though, the room is just another way the Glennpeter Jewelers Diamond Centre makes its name in the community and gets people in the doors to at least see what the store has to offer.

"I think we're the only jewelry store in the whole country to do this," he says.

If not, then Weiss' store is definitely in the minority. And note to Chuck E. Cheese: Look out.

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