irv would be proud

Iconic Houston jewelry store unveils plans for dazzling renovations

Iconic Houston jewelry store unveils plans for dazzling renovations

I W Marks 2022 redesign
The sleek new IW Marks showroom. Rendering courtesy of Identity Architects
I W Marks 2022 redesign
Customer experience is the focus of the redesign. Rendering courtesy of Identity Architects
Team Up for Kids and K9s Astros Tootsies Brad Marks Joanna Marks
Brad and Joanna Marks. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
I W Marks 2022 redesign
I W Marks 2022 redesign
Team Up for Kids and K9s Astros Tootsies Brad Marks Joanna Marks

For 44 years, Houstonians have flocked to the iconic Bellaire jewelry purveyor I W Marks Jewelers in search of fine jewelry, luxury timepieces, and personalized, hyper-attentive service. The local mainstay at 3841 Bellaire Blvd. has been a timeless symbol of elegance, as familiar as the cherished commercials starring charming founder, Irv Marks.

But, like the exquisite hands of a Franck Muller watch, time moves on — and the store is following suit. Owner Brad Marks (son of the beloved Irv), has announced plans to completely renovate the familiar, 7,500 square-foot space. The new boutique will feature striking chandeliers, a bright, stone floor, sleek display cases, modern furnishings, and a wide, open feel.

This new look, courtesy of Houston-based Identity Architects, will also feature a bar, a private viewing room, and seating lounge. Plans call for the makeover to be complete by fall, according to Marks.

“The whole thought pattern is, retail jewelry is changing,” Marks tells CultureMap. “How is it changing? Now the customers and the staff are together; customers can walk up and look at things on the wall. It’s not, ‘I’m the salesperson and you’re the customer.’ Now, we’re friends, and it’s, ‘let’s look at some rings and watches.’”

With these dramatic changes, one wonders what the dear Irv would think. “It’s funny you would ask that,” says Marks. “One thing my Dad always said is, ‘you have to evolve and if you don’t evolve, you’re not going to survive.’ He would love this look.”

To complement the renovations, Marks is adding a host of new luxe brands including Michael M, Konstantino, Memoire and Lashbrook, and watch makers Franck Muller, Carl F. Bucherer, Angelus, and Oris.

While updates are nothing new (the most recent was in 2017), this is by far the most ambitious makeover for Brad Marks, who took over the family business in 2008 (40 years after Irv launched the 500-square-foot store). He and wife Joanna have become staples in the Houston philanthropic scene, careful stewards of the Marks legacy and patrons of firefighters, first responders, and more.

In order to make way for new shipments, Marks is offering a 70-percent-off sale on select and favorite brands. (Perfect timing for Valentine’s Day, one might note.)  True to the service-first approach, Marks is ensuring the store stays open during the renovations and says he’s excited about the updates, which are aimed at the customer experience.

“We want the customers to feel at home and that they’re family,” he says. “Without the customers, we don’t have a store.”