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Best of the Best: Hit the Road with Staff

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Best of the Best Logo[dropcap cap=M]onika and Mark Clodius, owners of Clodius & Co. in Rockford, IL, view their staff as a type of working family. So, what could be more natural than packing up the whole family and hitting the road? “We always try to do something fun for our staff, and it’s even better if it’s educational,” says Monika. — ALY STEIN[/dropcap]

[componentheading]THE IDEA [/componentheading]

[contentheading]Field Trip[/contentheading]

Surviving harsh Illinois weather and a tough recession, Monika and Mark saw The Nature of Diamonds exhibit at the Field Museum as a great opportunity to “reinforce the idea why we work so hard.” Before they expanded their store, they had taken their staff to see some of the largest jewelry stores in the area. Realizing the vision and potential of the expanded store, the staff found their first field trip to be educational and enlightening. So when the Clodiuses heard about the new exhibit at the Field Museum, they jumped on the chance to further enhance their staff’s fervor for the business.

[componentheading]THE EXECUTION [/componentheading]

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[contentheading] Logistics [/contentheading]

Executing the trip to the Field Museum took a fair amount of planning. “We hired a coach bus, got tickets in advance, lined up a place to eat and notified customers that we would be closed that day,” Mark says. “(While there,) we learned about the origins and efforts that go into mining diamonds, the physical properties of diamonds, and diamonds through the ages.” After gaining so much from the exhibit, the staff then put what they had learned to use in the store by talking to customers about the exhibit and, as Monika puts it, spreading their “infectious enthusiasm.”

[componentheading]THE REWARD [/componentheading]

[contentheading]Fresh View[/contentheading]

Not only has business improved since the trip, staff morale has as well. Taking a field trip has fostered stronger relationships, both with one another and with the product they sell. “It was impressive to see large pieces and correlate them to pieces we carry and styles that are coming back,” Monika says. “It was great for everyone — jewelers were intrigued to see older pieces and learn how they were manufactured, and for our staff new to the trade, it was like a jump start to Diamonds 101.” The staff had fun, but also took a lot away from the experience, including an in-depth diamond education.

[componentheading]DO IT YOURSELF[/componentheading][li]Plan ahead. Monika and Mark told customers a month in advance they would be closed the day of the trip. [/li]
[li] Find a trip relevant to your store’s wants and needs. “Look at your business and what you want to build, and then see how you can tie it in with what is around locally,” Monika says.[/li]
[li]Keep your ears and eyes open to see what’s out there. Monika recommends that stores “be progressive. Looking at the industry with a fresh view and doing something out of the ordinary brings excitement back.”[/li]

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[span class=note]This story is from the November 2010 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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