Miner’s Den, a 48-year-old family owned jewelry store in Royal Oak, has attracted customers every holiday season by giving each a key that could unlock a treasure chest filled with gift cards. It’s all part of the store’s unique four-day yuletide sale.
Until last year, keys were sent through the mail. Now, participants receive emails they must show in exchange for a key at the store. There always are more winning keys than losing keys, and last year’s winners received gift cards ranging from $10 to more than $5,000.
On each of the four sale days (this year’s festivities run from Nov. 21-24), customers line up early outside the store, says Jackie Rose, a diamond expert and Miner’s Den’s director of social media and merchandising. Those with losing keys can get in on the fun too. The first 50 people in line whose keys do not unlock the treasure chest get a free gift with a $50 purchase. Rose says some customers prefer the deal to picking a gift card from the chest. To sweeten the experience, nearly everything in the store is 20 percent off.
The original owners started the sale, and stories of taping hundreds of keys to sale invitations haunt Christmases past. While the logistics are no longer so painstaking, preparations begin in the summer.
Receiving a key is as easy as signing up for emails on Miner’s Den’s website. Rose says the sale offers customers a fun event to kick off the season. “Miner’s Den is always about giving back to the community,” she says. “We’re here because of the community.”
To that end, the store sponsors Stagecrafters, a nonprofit community theater in downtown Royal Oak, and proceeds from its watch battery replacements go to local charities. Last year, the store bought a bike for an elderly man who often visits just to chat. His last bike was stolen.
The store’s environment is as open and inviting as its business model. Half of the display space offers fine jewelry, up to 90 percent of which is designed and made in-house, while the other half offers jewelry made of materials such as amber, automotive paint, and butterfly wings. Oddities for sale include stuffed bats and change purses made of clamshells. In a nod to more recent innovations, the store also offers lab-created diamonds.
Children who visit the store with an adult receive candy, as well as bags of rocks that might kickstart a collection (one of the original owners housed his lapidary hobby in the store).
Taking the homespun charm further, adults are offered drinks while they shop, and a French bulldog named Billie Jean visits the store on Saturdays. “It’s a short life,” Rose says. “If you don’t make it a good one, it’s not fun.”