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After His Store Was Destroyed by a Flood Last Week, Jeweler Pens Letter Explaining the Struggles Ahead

Jeweler Craig Coyne writes about his flooded-out store, as thousands of dollars pour in for rebuilding effort.




Craig Coyne’s world was turned upside down last week when his Craig Coyne Jewelers shop in Ellicot City, MD was destroyed by a flood, leading to incalculable financial damages and no certain timetable to reopen. Thankfully, a friend of Coyne’s came to the rescue, setting up a fundraising page to collect money that will be used to rebuild the store. So far, more than $12,000 of the $40,000 goal has been raised. On the page, Coyne wrote the following letter that details some of the struggles and challenges he’s now facing:

“Many buildings are about to collapse and we do not know if ours is one of them. I am worried the back of our building is washed away. I’ve been told it is gone, but our little rock of a building has survived it all before. Inspectors must enter each property to determine soundness of structure and foundation. Until then, no one can enter.

“As an Historic Area I can’t imagine the cost, time and energy to rebuild.

“We have a very specific, predetermined protocol that we follow to ensure excessive levels of care, custody and control of jewelry left in with us. This flood tested even extreme measures and I am happy that our thoroughness has been rewarded. Our vault is intact, upright, and standing. All customer jewelry is in the vault and secure.

“Access to the vault and jewelry is a problem and I am sorry that our disaster will cause others to suffer. People are without engagement rings, unable to propose. Couples will marry without wedding bands to commemorate the occasion. Others too will be without sentimental treasures for a long time.

“For those less familiar with jewelry, water will not hurt silver, gold, platinum, diamonds and most gemstones. Opal and pearl are the most likely to be damaged. I am concerned about costly mechanical watches that we repaired but not delivered. They will need to be completely overhauled. Every professional courtesy and consideration has been offered and will be extended.


“You may be surprised to learn that we have nearly eleven thousand customers and have been in Ellicott City for nearly seventeen years. Managing that much data is no small feat and we are well equipped to handle it. Remote connection failed during the flood. We back up and have a dedicated hard drive. Unfortunately, the hard drive was taken to the store on Saturday to prepare for the back up on Sunday morning. Every effort is being made to protect and recover the information. We may not be able to salvage the backup hard drive or our main computer. Customers will likely be asked to provide more information than normal to retrieve their valuables when the time comes.

“Speculation is a dangerous thing. No one dares to guess a time frame. Some say months. Some say years. Time determines everything. I want to spend as much time together as we can. I am so proud of everyone, so impressed and emotionally moved. Strengths and weaknesses have blended to become a solution we can all stand behind.

“Lastly, please don’t worry about us. My team is strong and healthy and very capable. The network surrounding us provides stability in many ways.

“Is it odd that I care so little about my own personal belongings when I’ve devoted my life to helping others with theirs? My life is nothing but a series of undulating emotions and now that a large wave has crashed I am looking forward to enjoying nice calm seas.”

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When There’s No Succession Plan, Call Wilkerson

Bob Wesley, owner of Robert C. Wesley Jewelers in Scottsdale, Ariz., was a third-generation jeweler. When it was time to enjoy life on the other side of the counter, he weighed his options. His lease was nearing renewal time and with no succession plan, he decided it was time to call Wilkerson. There was plenty of inventory to sell and at first, says Wesley, he thought he might try to manage a sale himself. But he’s glad he didn’t. “There’s no way I could have done this as well as Wilkerson,” he says. Wilkerson took responsibility for the entire event, with every detail — from advertising to accounting — done, dusted and managed by the Wilkerson team. “It’s the complete package,” he says of the Wilkerson method of helping jewelers to easily go on to the next phase of their lives. “There’s no way any retailer can duplicate what they’ve done.”

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