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Do You Or Don't You?

Can You Afford to Close Your Store for Extended Time? Here’s What Other Jewelers Say

See what the Brain Squad says about taking time off.

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THIS MONTH’S QUESTION: Do you ever close your store for an extended period of time during the year?

Yes: 37%

  • We just gave our employees an extra long weekend. We all came back refreshed. Sometimes we close the day after Christmas, too. We used to joke that it was to avoid returns, but it is more to just relax one more day after the crazy season. Julie Terwilliger, Wexford Jewelers, Cadillac, MI
  • I find my customers are creatures of habit. They know our hours, and the one time I tried to deviate from them (by closing Mondays), it took years to convince them we were again open on Mondays. — Karen Schmitt, Straith’s Jewelers, Centralia, IL
  • We notified our customer list and had a big sale before we left. Had the best May ever! — Gordon Lawrie, Eidos, Santa Fe, NM
  • We close the week of July 4, and things usually take a week or so to pick back up, but I’m not so sure it isn’t just that time of the year and everyone taking vacations and trips or going to the lake. Plus half my vendors are closed, some even the whole month of July! — Josh Rider, Dylan Rings, Montgomery, AL
  • We close the week of July 4th and the week after Christmas. Being a second generation store with a family, it’s important to be intentional about quality time with my family. My customers respect that and support us. — LaTisha Holland, Arlene’s Fine Jewelry, Vidalia, GA
  • After Christmas to go skiing. We lose some of post-Christmas repairs, but what the heck, gotta have some fun, especially after the season’s craziness. — John Przeclawski, Jewelry Plus, Casselberry, FL
  • We always hear about it from our customers, “I came to see you and you were closed.” But they come back. — Shell Miller, Dig Sum Gems, Waterford, MI
  • We close the week of July 4. So little business is done then and our industry tends to shut down. Seems like a good time to be off. — Cindy Smith, Smith & Smith Jewelers, Marianna, FL
  • We have a two-person store. We close every year for a week of family vacation to recharge. Periodically, we’ll also close on a Saturday or for a conference. — Joe Bacher, J Bacher Fine Jewelry, Harrisburg, IL
  • We are currently closed for our annual two-week summer vacation. We close for two weeks every summer and two weeks after Christmas every year. I don’t think it affects our bottom line much. We may lose a few sales during those times, but the time off is well worth it! — Mark Snyder, Snyder Jewelers, Weymouth, MA
  • We closed our store last year for the week of the 4th of July. I believe that it energizes the staff. Our clients appreciate that we treat our staff well. — Kent Bagnall, Kent Jewelry, Rolla, MO
  • My customers appreciate all I try to do for them and want me to enjoy time away with my family in the mountains or at the beach or at the farm. — Dale Robertson, Dale Robertson Jewelry, Loveland, OH
  • We close for one week out of the year for vacation. It probably does affect our business. If your doors are not open, you can lose potential sales. But being a family-owned store, we need to do this. Everyone needs a break sometimes. — Lyla Ismael, Lyla Jewelers, Oak Lawn, IL
  • We close the week of July 4th and have done so, with one exception, for over 10 years. The exception proved we don’t lose much business when we’re closed. — Richard Frank, Goldstein’s, Mobile, AL
  • We close between Christmas and New Year’s and a week or so over 4th of July. We repair watches, and when we return, we get an onslaught of catch-up work. Sometimes I need a vacation from the vacation. — Shevvy Baker, SPB Designs, Louisville, KY
  • Two times a year. One, for Tucson and Scottsdale — it’s great for business because we let our customers know where we’re going. Two, for vacation. It’s bad for business, but too bad. — Ira Kramer, The Diamond Exchange of Maryland, Rockville, MD
  • Traditionally, we have closed for approximately one week in July so everyone in our family and staff could enjoy a summer vacation with their families. For the last two years, we have moved to closing just a few days at a time two or three times a year. We made this change because it better accommodates the needs and desires of our family and staff. — James Sickinger, Sickinger’s Jewelry, Lowell, IN
  • We closed an extra day for both New Year’s and July 4th holidays. This option was presented as a challenge to our staff. If a certain sales goal was met, we would add the additional day as a holiday. In both cases, the staff worked hard to meet the goal and were rewarded. We did not receive any negative feedback from our customers. We had no regrets in adding the extra time off. — Wendy Smith, Jimmy Smith Jewelers, Decatur, AL
  • Long weekends, anything to do with our great country of America, Veteran’s Day, 4th of July, etc. No noticeable effect; people generally understand that’s who we are. — Brian Stubblefield, Hendersonville Jewelers, Hendersonville, TN
  • Being a one-man-show, I get to close when anything happens that must be attended to by me. I find that as long as it is no longer than a week, everyone is understanding. If it is more than a week, I call people and arrange delivery of repaired items. Sales will happen when I get back. — James Doggett, Doggett Jewelry, Kingston, NH
  • Between Christmas and New Year’s Day. For the past 33 years, we have done this. I am not going to even attempt to say this makes sense! But, it has for me given I have worked like a dog (I like dogs, and would never let my dog work that hard) year round. — Brenda Newman, The Jewelry Source, El Segundo, CA
  • January and July for one to two weeks depending on our plans. It’s had a good effect on my business because it’s the only break I get. Normal hours are seven-day weeks. — Daniel Spirer, Spirer Jewelers, Cambridge, MA
  • I have recently posted a sign on the front of the business by the posted business hours: “Summers are way too short in Montana. After 40 plus years of working on Saturday, I may just close on an occasional Saturday this summer. Please call ahead of time if you plan to come in on a Saturday.” We are normally closed on Sunday and Monday. We have also closed for a week or sometimes longer to attend shows or short mini-vacations. — Murphy McMahon, L’Or Custom Jewelers, Kalispell, MT
  • We close twice a year, this year July 30-August 9 and again December 30-Jan 9. We have done this for the past 10 years. We look at it this way: if we lose a customer, we are sorry, but we need family time after all the hours we work. We miss so many things with our kids throughout the year because of our business and what’s the point of working so hard if we can’t share some of the benefits of owning our business with them. Our customers seem to understand (most at least) and DO come back when we are open. We have RARELY heard of someone that refused to come back. Do we occasionally have a customer tell us, “You were closed, so we bought (whatever) at another store?” Yes, but to hear that means they did come back to us. Overall, our customers are very loyal, so I do not feel our being closed has a negative effect on our business. — Dorothy Retzke, Krystyna’s Jewelry, Chicago, IL

No: 63%

  • Even when we go on vacation, we have our store available for customers. — Rita Wade, Wade Designs Jewelry, Rocky Mount, NC
  • I have not closed for more than a few days, but I may start in the near future. Have too many irons in the fire now. — Mark Thomas Ruby, SunSpirit Designs, Loveland, CO
  • Our repair business is year round! Plus I can’t stand retail stores that close for the month! — David Lindsay, Purdy’s Jewellery & Gems, Bobcaygeon, Ontario
  • My staff in empowered to run the store without me there. I’m very proud of them for stepping up and working hard. The store runs like clockwork. — Chris Wattsson, Wattsson & Wattsson Jewelers, Marquette, MI
  • I don’t want to lose any time selling. I also hate going to other stores and finding out they closed for some reason or another. If you post hours, you should keep them no matter what. — Craig C. Curtis, Belfast Jewelry, Belfast, ME
  • Our clients expect us to be here, and like most consumers will go somewhere else if we aren’t. — Kelly Jensen, Plateau Jewelers, Sammamish, WA
  • A progressive merchant is OPEN. Unless emergency is declared by the county, we are an anchor store in downtown leading by example. We are in business to do business open with regular store hours. Hobbyists close, eventually, forever. — Eileen Eichhorn, Eichhorn Jewelry, Decatur, IN
  • We closed for a week in August 2010. Not sure if it hurt us in sales, but cash flow took a dive. Will not do it again. — Warren Lakein, Lakein’s Jewelers of Hamilton, Baltimore, MD
  • This is retail. If we’re not open, we’re not making money. — Marc Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX
  • Other than moving or renovations, why close? — Gene Arthur, Arthur’s Jewelry, Reidsville, NC
  • I’m a sole proprietor, I have a teenage son to support, and this is my only source of income. If I’m not here, people can’t buy things! — Janne Etz, Contemporary Concepts, Cocoa, FL
  • Our customers set our hours, not us! If they want us open, we’re open, seven days and four nights a week. — Chuck Kuba, Iowa Diamond, West Des Moines, IA
  • Customers get angry, no matter how we warn them that we will be closed. — Jill Hornik, Jae’s Jewelers, Coral Gables, FL
  • We usually close one day to run physical inventory. This year we’re shutting down a couple of days to renovate. Typically we do not shut down for an extended period of time. — Whitney Lang, Burkes Fine Jewelers, Kilmarnock, VA
  • It’s about our customers and not us. If we ever forget that, we’re in trouble. — Bill Elliott, Ross Elliott Jewelers, Terre Haute, IN
  • Closed for a week last year. Huge mistake. Took all summer to make up lost revenue. — Jeff Dennis, Jeff Dennis Jewelers, Gardendale, AL
  • The bills keep coming in even when we’re closed! If the bill companies could waive their monthly bill, I would close. — Laurie Cusher, Hyde Park Jeweler, Hyde Park, NY
  • Retail = 365 days a year! — Sheila Ritchie, Gasser Jewelers, Canton, OH

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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Do You Or Don't You?

Try To Sell Wedding Bands With The Engagement Ring? Our Brain Squad Is Almost Split

Slightly more jewelers say ‘don’t do it.’

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THIS MONTH’S QUESTION: Do you try to broach the wedding band sale immediately after closing the engagement ring sale?

Yes: 45%

  • We offer a credit based on the amount of the engagement ring purchased towards wedding bands. We mainly let the customers know that, and if they want to look, we do. — Rick Sanders, Sanders Jewelers, Gainesville, FL
  • Actually I mention it before we close the engagement sale: “What band will we be making to match?” — Russell Criswell, Vulcan’s Forge, Kansas City, MO
  • We offer a coupon for money off both their wedding bands when an engagement ring is sold. It does well for us, too. — Beth Cevasco, Scott’s Custom Jewelers, Fairlawn, OH
  • Many years ago, I read that statistically, people don’t even buy their bands from the same store as they buy their engagement ring. From that time on, I’ve always at least planted the seed and often offer an incentive to have the clients come back. After all, you’ve already done the heavy lifting. Why not finish the job? — Jon Walp, Long Jewelers, Virginia Beach, VA
  • I like to show all the options available when the engagement ring is here and the customer is excited. Also, many guys don’t necessarily think about rings for themselves, and they start to have fun looking. It’s finally their turn! — Robin Lies, Burnells Creative Gold, Wichita, KS
  • They are in a happy, excited mood and still in the buying mood. — Paul Reiniger, Reiniger Jewelers, Swansea, IL
  • Why … to educate, to create satisfaction with our product quality/care/maintenance plans, to create additional ring sales and to create lifelong customers/friends and referrals. I always tell people that they want to consider the type of band that will be worn with the ring (integrated, contour, stacked … ), that guys tend to get a few alternative bands for fashion, and that we offer a Tough Love silicone band to each of them complimentary as we’re describing best care for fine jewelry. — Jill Keith, Enchanted Jewelry, Danielson, CT
  • Always looking for the add-on sale because if you don’t ask, you will not always get it. — Rick Nichols, Nassau Jewelry, Fernandina Beach, FL
  • If they decide on a ring that does not have a matching wedding band, then they need to start thinking about having one made right now if they are going to consider more than one ring. I have had customers come in a week before the wedding and want a band that will have to be custom-made. We can’t usually help them at that late date. Even if they don’t purchase now, they need to be thinking about a band for the guy and the girl. — Murphy McMahon, Murphy McMahon & Co., Kalispell, MT

No: 55%

  • I don’t ever pressure my customers to buy anything. I don’t like it and would never do such a thing to them. — Craig C. Curtis, Belfast Jewelry, Belfast, ME
  • Only if we are custom-making an engagement ring do we approach the band sale at that time. We have found in our area that an engagement might take a year or few, and we do not want to push the issue and lose the engagement sale. — Tim Wright, Simply Unique Jewelry Designs, Yorktown, VA
  • They are usually exhausted from the decision-making, if they were selecting as a couple. If he’s making the decision alone, HIS band is the last thing on his mind! The exception is for same-sex couples. We look for both together — it’s cool! — Debbie Fox, Fox Fine Jewelry, Ventura, CA
  • Still in shock from selling the engagement ring. — Bill Elliott, Ross Elliott Jewelers, Terre Haute, IN
  • Why ruin the moment? If it needs to be resized or they bring it in for cleaning, then we will bring the wedding bands up. — Donald Killelea, Killelea Jewelers, Midlothian, IL
  • Too pushy. If you’ve done a good job, the chances are high you’ll get an opportunity down the road. — Bob Goodman, Robert Goodman Jewelers, Zionsville, IN
  • We always let the buyer know that they will receive a discount on their bands as a reward for buying the engagement from us. When we meet the bride-to-be is when we really drive that point home. The guy has forgotten every detail as soon as his feet hit the curb. We feel it’s better to let him get out of the store feeling excited about what he’s about to do and follow up with the bride-to-be a few weeks later. We have over 90 percent conversion on wedding band sales to clients who bought their engagement from us. — Mark Snyder, Snyder Jewelers, Weymouth, MA
  • I should. I get lazy. — Steven B. Goldfarb, Alvin Goldfarb Jeweler, Bellevue, WA
  • Relationships take time to form and evolve. Things should happen in gradual steps. First maybe the engagement ring, next would be a birthday or holiday gift. I should also see her a few times for a cleaning where we can talk about the wedding planning process and than bring up wedding bands, wedding gifts and something borrowed. — Christopher Sarraf, Nuha Jewelers, Plainview, NY

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

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Do You Or Don't You?

Discounts For Cash Payments? 6 Out of 10 Brain Squad Members Say Yes

Most jewelers will offer at least a small discount for dollars.

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Yes: 60%

  • If cash, the discount can be 4 percent, but usually only offered if the customer keeps insisting on a discount. — Spencer K., Sheridan, WY
  • 3 percent. It’s what I would pay to run a credit card. — Kelly J., Sammamish, WA
  • No matter how low I go on a sale, I always leave 2-4 percent for a credit card. If a client offers cash (or a check), I will give them 1-3 percent off, depending on the item. The credit card companies have created a truly dependent society. Everyone uses them for every purchase. Clients do not even KNOW that there is a fee to the vendor! We receive our 1099 every year from Mastercard/Visa and we could pay another employee a full salary with what we pay them just to accept cards. It’s crazy and nobody even knows! — Mark S., Weymouth, MA
  • Courtesy 10 percent if asked for. — Gordon L., Santa Fe, NM
  • With repeat customers, I like to offer them a discount as an incentive to keep coming back. — James S., McMinnville, TN
  • Usually 10-15 percent, if at all. Not too often, but some customers are insistent, and it’s not usually the millennials. — Cathy M., Austin, TX
  • If they ask, I’ll give them up to 20 percent off of in-case items, never any discount for custom or repairs. — David P., Durham, NC
  • Depends on how often the customer buys from me and how long I’ve had the piece. Maybe 30 percent off. I have a month-long clearance in September, which most of my customers wait for. — Laura P., St. Robert, MO
  • 2-5 percent. I’d rather give it to my customers than the credit card company. — David E., Tacoma, WA
  • I offer my credit card discount if someone is haggling and only for dollars. A check will not do. — Paula D., Asheville, NC
  • When someone negotiates in cash, I am happy to offer them the 3 percent discount for what it would cost me in credit card fees. However, I always respond to them by saying, “I look terrible in orange” (meaning going to jail in an orange jumpsuit), and we pause and chuckle a moment, and then I further explain that I will still be giving you a receipt for this purchase, on which I will need to include sales tax. Reminding them that sales tax is “collected” for our state … and I am obligated to collect it. It is NOT my money. Most of the time, they understand and are grateful for the additional 3 percent. — Rita W., Rocky Mount, NC
  • 20-30 percent. No choice. Everything is available everywhere for cheaper. — Christopher S., Plainview, NY
  • The discount depends when I purchased the item and at what gold market I paid. Some items will get a 30-35 percent savings. — Anonymous

No: 40%

  • The customers who are offering cash are usually expecting big discounts for cash, and that is not our business model. It all goes in the register and on the books, so our savings are less than 2 percent, so they usually plunk down a card. — Alan L., Cape May, NJ
  • We stick with one price for everyone … cash, charge, rich or poor, frequent flier or new customer. Our egalitarian mindset may cost us a sale every so often, but in the long run, our clients have learned that we are not desperate and that they receive the best value. “You can get money anywhere, but this one-of-a-kind piece … only here. Sorry, we don’t discount.” — Steven W., Chatham, MA
  • In order to offer a discount, you need to add dollars to the price up front. When you do this, where do you stop and who do you offer this to? It is kinda like a stripper: they have to put on the garments before they can remove them. I know that this comparison is crude, but think about it and determine what kind of business person you want to be. My pricing scheme is to charge all customers the same and not play favorites. I know that I lose some customers because I don’t give discounts, but I have very loyal customers that would abandon me if I were to offer discounts. If you explain that you price your product correctly to start with, most customers understand. — Ed M., Brainerd, MN
  • Never. Our credit card merchant agreements state that it is against the contracts to offer a discount for a payment that is other than having the customer use the respective credit card. Additionally, our bank charges our company a cash handling charge and we have to fill out a lot of paperwork when people pay with cash. Bottom line: the price is what it is. — Andrea R., El Dorado Hills, CA

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

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Do You Or Don't You?

7 Out Of 10 Jewelers Surveyed Will Do House Calls

Those that won’t cite security concerns.

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Yes: 70%

  • I will go see my existing clients with whom I have a relationship or have them come to my home office. I recently moved from one suburb to another. I feel it’s not fair making my old clients drive an extra half-hour to my new location, so I give them the option of having me come to them or coming to my home, which is near my old location. — Shahraz Kassam, Shamin Diamonds, Surrey, BC
  • My most recent was a trip to a doctor’s office to adjust eight watches that were purchased for Christmas for all the nurses. — Jim Wolf, James Wolf Jewelers, Mason, OH
  • Limited occasions, rarely for the sake of financial gain but more of a “do into others” good karma situation. Usually, it’s delivery of a completed item to an overwhelmed, homebound or otherwise in-need person. Recently, we delivered a chain repair to a woman whose homebound hospice patient husband broke his cross chain. We fixed and delivered it for free because it was right. I’d never her seen her before, but I couldn’t take her money. — Heather Wahl, R.C. Wahl Jewelers, Des Plaines, IL
  • If the sale calls for it and is going to close but requires something extra. If delivering a ring means the engagement is going to happen on time and we’re going to get the sale, I am going to do it. I don’t mind taking a ride to make sure my customers are happy! — Evan Silbert, Thurber Jewelers, Elk River, MN
  • I’m a private jeweler, so this is the norm for me. Businesspeople and people in the country music business that have very full schedules. Disclaimer, though, is I do have to know them or have vetted them very well. — Ben Brantley, Ben Brantley & Co., Shelbyville, TN
  • We have gone to people’s homes to deliver a gift as a surprise. We have gone to people’s care homes to cut a ring off because they won’t come off naturally. We’ve even delivered reports to people at work if they cannot leave during their work day! — Mary Jo Chanski, Hannoush Jewelers, Rutland, VT
  • All the time. Home, office, golf course or bar — delivering something nice or bringing a few options for someone to choose from is thrilling to me. It’s something my good customers love and tell people about; sometimes I end up serving the whole office. — Ray Lantz, The Diamond Center, Claremont, CA
  • We will make house calls anytime. I just did one last diamond ring for one of my favorite and best clients. He was deteriorating rapidly and needed me to come to his house. What a privilege to help someone’s legacy live on through a token of love! — Natasha Henderson, Saxon’s Fine Jewelers, Bend, OR
  • I have a customer waiting for me to come over and go through her jewelry so she and her husband can decide who to leave pieces for between her nieces and nephews. She is not in shape to come in. I have taken loose diamonds and complete rings and wedding sets to ladies in the hospital before and made sales on them all! — Cindy Fuller, Fuller Designs, Poplar Bluff, MO
  • I do a lot of probate work, and it is much easier on the families to have the sorting and appraisal prep work done in a more comfortable setting. It also saves time and return trips. Quite often, people become emotional when handling the deceased’s jewelry, and it helps if they are at home. — Jim Doggett, Doggett Jewelry, Kingston, NH
  • I have a customer who has ALS. He has been with us since we opened 14 years ago. He is not able to make it to the store since he is confined to a wheelchair. It’s easy because his wife and I have the same taste in jewelry. I bring 4-5 things and he picks one. I wrap it in our fancy bags. She calls every time and thanks me, and it makes my whole month just to see her happy for that brief moment. That’s what it is all about for me. — Karen Hollis, K. Hollis Jewelers, Batavia, IL
  • To make personal custom design appointments using a laptop and Countersketch. To assess a client’s jewelry inventory for storage options, which provides a great way to see their entire collection of jewelry and wardrobe so you’ll know their style preferences in the future. — Jessica Rossomme, Mucklow’s Fine Jewelry, Peachtree City, GA

No: 30%

  • Never requested. We have been open for 62 years and have an aging customer base that may need assistance. I’m sure if requested by a repeat customer for some very important reason, we would make that call. — Toni Kinder, Farr’s Jewelry, Ogden, UT
  • Rarely and only if customer is physically challenged. — Sam F. Edwards, Sam Edwards Jewelers, Chattanooga, TN
  • If we were really sucking wind, I would start to do so. Fortunately, we have not had to do so. — Joseph Villarreal, Villarreal Fine Jewelers, Austin, TX
  • I used to, way back, but have no time now. Also, my store has a special ambiance, which sustains our image as creative designers; showing jewelry elsewhere robs it of the magic. — Eve J. Alfille, Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio, Evanston, IL
  • Afraid of robbery. — Alexander Rysman, Romm Diamonds, Brockton, MA
  • Too high a risk factor. What’s the point of having a store if you make house calls? The store is a much more secure and comfortable environment. — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA
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