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Alan Perry Works on Letting Go — Gradually

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Alan Perry, who recently turned 60, is trying to slowly let go of his “baby,” Perry’s Emporium in Wilmington, NC, and let his sons take over. His strategy is to scale back to a four-day week, then three days, and by the time he’s 70, two. While it’s not easy to let go of the reins, he is ready to loosen them. “I started this with nothing and have grown it to over $6 million, so it’s my pride and joy. But I am tired of all the stress, so it feels good to let loose a lot of the staff issues. I’m damn sure going to slow down to three days a week when I’m 65.”

His oldest son, Joshua, is the floor and store manager, supported by a chief financial officer, while his youngest, Jordan, is on the bench but will be moving into sales. 

“I have pretty much turned over hiring and firing to Joshua, as well as training.”

As for advertising, “I’ve been on TV and radio for 26 years, but we’re putting them on TV more and using Jordan on the radio. I’m still working on marketing and inventory, merchandise planning, the ad budget. That’s what I enjoy. I also go out on the floor for about two hours a day, to greet customers and close the sale when need be. I enjoy the heck out of that.” 

Perry is a member of a Plexus group. The consensus in that group is that when you can walk away for a year and no one has to call you, that’s when you know you can retire. “I”m not quite ready for that. They need another five years of me in the trenches working.”

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It’s all moving in the right direction, though. Business is up about 15 percent this year, even after the area was slammed by a hurricane.

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

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