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Best of The Best

Best of the Best: Battle of the Bands

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BURLINGTON, MA. This year, Massachusetts-based Long’s Jewelers was voted as being the home of Boston’s Best Rings by readers of Boston Magazine. And that’s not a shock. Having opened its first store in 1878, Long’s knows what its customers want. Here’s one big lesson it learned over the years: Springtime is ring time.

 

THE IDEA

 

Win Big

For three days every March, Long’s throws a bash known as Wedding Band Weekend — just as it has for each of the past 20-plus years. The event, held at its Burlington location, features 10,000 square feet worth of wedding bands from designers including Ritani, Memoire, Scott Kay, Furrer-Jacot and Frederick Goldman, alongside booths for partner businesses like limousine providers, musicians and high-end bakeries. The end result is a one-stop-shop for future brides and grooms. To further entice potential customers to attend the event, participating companies raffle off prizes like luxury trips, shopping sprees and private dinners. “Businesses and vendors really want to participate because everyone does so well,” says Allison Fraske, who handles marketing for Long’s Jewelers.

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THE EXECUTION

 

Just Relax

Long’s starts by putting out the call to its regular vendors, who show up with expanded collections that aren’t usually available. Then the company looks for up-and-coming designers and those who are new to the scene. This results in a selection that’s impressive, but can also be overwhelming. And that’s why Long’s strives to make this a social event. “People come planning to spend time, enter to win some of the prizes, and browse all the styles that we have,” Fraske says. “It’s certainly not comparable to just a sale … it’s more about the whole experience.” By staffing its other four locations with skeleton crews, Long’s is able to have enough smiling faces on hand to ensure everyone in the crowd gets personal attention.

THE RESULT

 

Experience Pays

During the event, more than 2,000 people make their way through the front doors. Sales are brisk, yet every year compounds on the previous year’s success. “It seems to be getting better and better,” says Fraske. “People are telling their friends, ‘Make sure you go to Long’s for Wedding Band Weekend.’ It’s by far our most wellattended event of the year.” That positive word-of-mouth is the result of the store’s philosophy of guiding customers through the purchase process. Many people show up knowing little about jewelry, and a sizable percentage aren’t even sure what they’re looking for. With some handholding, a potentially stressful outing becomes one that’s so enjoyable people actually want their loved ones to experience it for themselves.

DO IT YOURSELF

 

  • DEFINITELY BRING something unique to the table,” Fraske says. The idea is to differentiate this event from your standard store sales events. The high-value giveaways do the trick for Long’s.
  • ENTERTAINMENT and refreshments put people at ease, and serious buyers will need both during their lengthy stay in the store.
  • GET THE WORD OUT. Long’s uses radio and web ads, phone calls and direct-mail campaigns. It also notifi es the database of bridal leads it has compiled over the years.
  • PRACTICE REALLY does help. “To be honest, we’ve been doing it for so long I think we could do it in our sleep,” Fraske says.
  • ALWAYS BE LOOKING for potential customers. Long’s keeps track of everyone who purchases engagement rings throughout the year and invites them to Wedding Band Weekend.
  • THINK ABOUT all of your customers’ needs when selecting partner businesses. A furniture store, for instance, might not be traditionally “bridal,” but most newlyweds would be excited to win a new bedroom set.

 

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This story is from the November 2011 edition of INSTORE

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Orin Mazzoni, Jr., the owner of Orin Jewelers in Garden City and Northville, Michigan, decided it was time to downsize. With two locations and an eye on the future, Mazzoni asked Wilkerson to take the lead on closing the Garden City store. Mazzoni met Wilkerson’s Rick Hayes some years back, he says, and once he made up his mind to consolidate, he and Hayes “set up a timeline” for the sale. Despite the pandemic, Mazzoni says the everything went smoothly. “Many days, we had lines of people waiting to get in,” he says, adding that Wilkerson’s professionalism made it all worthwhile. “Whenever you do an event like this, you think, ‘I’ve been doing this my whole life. Do I really need to pay someone to do it for me?’ But then I realized, these guys are the pros and we need to move forward with them.”

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