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The Basics

As has become tradition with the Big Survey, we start with a look at the marketplace fundamentals of our jewelers: where they work, what they offer, and how they differentiate themselves.

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5. Do you own or rent your store?

COMMENT: A combination of record low interest rates and record economic expansion, as well as the increasing popularity of downtown shopping districts, appears to have made it possible (and smarter) for more jewelers to own their places of business.
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6. How would you describe the market where your store is located?

Big urban market
8%
Suburban outskirts of a big urban market
17%
Medium-sized city (250,000-1 million people)
15%
Small city (25,000 to 250,000)
34%
Country town (up to 25,000)
22%
Resort area
3%

7. Which description of your business do you most closely identify with?

Full-service jeweler (offering repairs and other services)
78%
Jewelry retailer
9%
Custom design store
8%
By-appointment jeweler
2%
Online jeweler
1%
Pawn shop
1%
Other
1%

8. Which category is your business’s “strong point” (the category that helps you stand out from the competition)?

Custom design
36%
Bridal & diamonds
27%
General jewelry services (inc. repairs)
16%
Estate
6%
Fashion jewelry
5%
Colored gemstones
4%
Fine jewelry
2%
Watches
2%
Silver
1%
Other (please specify)
1%
COMMENT: Throughout our survey, there weren’t many areas where men and women diverged in terms of how they managed their stores. This was one. Interestingly, 32% of male owners said their strong point was bridal compared to only 14% of women. The service that allowed most women-run stores to stand out was custom design, with almost half of women (47%) choosing it, compared to 31% for male owners.
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9. Check the paid services offered by your store

10. How big is your (main) store?

COMMENT: The changes have been incremental, but store size seems to be changing most at the extremes. There are more small stores and more big ones: Almost a quarter (24%) of the stores responding to this year’s survey were less than 1,000 square feet (up from 19% five years ago) while 12% were more than 4,000 sq feet in size (up from 9% five years ago).
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When Liquidation Is the Best Option, This Legendary Jeweler Chose Wilkerson

George Koueiter & Sons Jewelers, a 65-year old jewelry institution in Grosse Pointe, MI, had always been a mainstay in this suburban Detroit community. But when owners George and Paul Koueiter were ready to retire, they made the decision to close rather than sell. “We decided our best option to do the liquidation sale was Wilkerson,” says Paul Koueiter. The results, says George Koueiter, exceeded expectations and the process was easy. “Wilkerson just kept us in mind,” says George. “They never did anything without asking and whatever they asked us to do was just spot on.”

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