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Eileen McClelland

5 Best of the Best Ideas that Retailers Shared with Us in 2014



January’s the best time to assess what worked last year while we look ahead to what we hope works this year (all while trying to battle a winter cold and find time to take down that Christmas tree!). Here are five great ideas retailers shared with us for Best of the Best sections of INSTORE in 2014 that are worth looking back on as we plan special events and marketing strategies for 2015. Please send your own good ideas, past, present and future, to me at


For the past few years, Stephenie Bjorkman has hosted “Love in the Hills,” at Sami Fine Jewelry in Fountain Hills, AZ. During the 2013 Valentine’s event, 762 couples renewed their wedding vows, generating tons of positive publicity. “If you put it on,” Bjorkman says, “there has to be a bossy, in charge decision maker. And you have to be organized and a little OCD!”


When a police officer dies in the line of duty, David Putnam makes a memorial badge pendant for the family. He does so without being asked and free of charge. The owner of Alamo City Gold & Silver in San Antonio, TX, and considers this work a community service, one that honors the ultimate sacrifice.


Randy Hudson, president and founder of Randy’s Jewelry, in O’Fallon, MO, has something to show you, whether or not you’re in the market for jewelry. He’s got everything from arrowheads and an 84-million-year-old dinosaur egg to amethyst geodes. Local collectors come from miles around to see his collections in his store.


T Lee, owner of T Lee Custom Designer Jewelry in Minneapolis, MN, loves gems. So her “Wine, Dine & Mine” trip to Southern California — which took place in September 2013 and offered the chance to mine gemstones, visit vineyards and eat gourmet meals — was a no-brainer for her, and some of her most loyal customers. She deepened her relationship with her clients, and they became friends with each other as well. Besides their memories, the travelers took home rough they’d mined or bought at the roundtable, as well as charms made from rough, which Lee gave each of them on necklaces. “You would have thought that I gave them a 1-carat diamond ring, they were so thrilled,” she said.


On a Thursday evening in July 2013 Bernie Robbins Jewelers hosted 40 guests at the Somers Point, NJ, location, for its inaugural Yoga Fest as part of a “Moment of Zen” themed weekend, with spa treatments, giveaways, and yoga classes. The invitation read, “Join us for an evening of health, wellness & fun.” Owner Harvey Rovinsky says Yoga Fest drew new potential clients to the store, many of whom said they were surprised and delighted with what they found there, and how affordable it could be. “We exceeded their expectations,” Rovinsky says.


Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.



Wilkerson Testimonials

Wilkerson: “They Feel Like Family”

Newton’s Jewelers in Fort Smith, Ark., was a true institution. But after being at the helm for most of his life, owner (and descendent of the original founder) Kelly Newton decided it was time to retire. He chose Wilkerson to handle the sale. “I’ve known the owners of Wilkerson for a long, long time. I felt at home with them,” he says. The final retirement sale was just a “blast” and the Wilkerson sales team made it so very simple and straightforward, says Newton. Would he recommend Wilkerson to others? Absolutely. “They’ve done incredible work,” says Newton. “They feel like family.”

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