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Concerns Over Looting, The Pandemic, And Retirement Consideration Fill Your Letters From June

It’s a difficult time for the country, and jewelers are feeling it.




  • You cannot use COVID-19 as an excuse. If your business was struggling before, it will continue to struggle, and you need to change. — Christopher Sarich, Noah Gabriel & Co. Jewelers, Wexford, PA
  • It will be so sad to see some stores close, as we all know how hard so many have worked to create their stores. These past couple of months underscore the importance of making sure your security is up to date, knowing your coverages with insurance, and preparing for periods of slow financial times. And maybe most importantly, having a strong relationship with your faith. — Kevin Kelly, Kevin Kelly Jewelers, Peoria, IL
  • Our country needs prayer and healing! People are at breaking points. This violence is likely worse than it might have been without months of lockdown and pandemic stress preceding it. — Kim Hatchell, Galloway & Moseley, Sumter, SC
  • Trying to keep my head above water. Good thing I don’t have any debt! Just have regular day-to-day expenses! Enjoy your magazine immensely! — Laurie Cusher, Hyde Park Jeweler, Hyde Park, NY
  • People are still in love. Our world is also filled with kindness. We hope light and sparkle prevails in all of this darkness. — Allison Leitzel-Williams, Leitzel’s Jewelry, Myerstown, PA
  • We are all in unprecedented times for sure, and every day seems like another crisis. As a store that has been open since 1946, we are keeping our faith and believe we will be OK. We stay vigilant and versatile so that we can stand the test of time. — Naomi Vargas, Mehaffey’s Jewelry, Haines City, FL
  • Remember, every day someone has a birthday, an anniversary, gets engaged or has some other reason to celebrate life. We are fortunate to be able to help them celebrate those events. People do not need us; they want us to help them remember those special times. — John Hayes, Goodman’s Jewelers, Madison, WI
  • I don’t know if this is what you are looking for, but this happened and it made a huge difference. About three weeks into the quarantine (we were mandated by the governor of our state to close on March 14), I was really down and seriously thinking if this was all worth it. I’ve been in the jewelry industry for 30 years, and this was the first time I was beyond discouraged. I had to run to my store for some paperwork. When I got in, the phone was ringing. For reasons unknown to me, I answered it (normally I wouldn’t have), and the man on the other end was at first startled to get an actual person and not an answering machine. It was [sales trainer and INSTORE columnist] Shane Decker. He said he was calling jewelry stores and leaving messages to tell them that he was praying for us and the entire industry and to not be discouraged, that we would come out of this and be better than before. He didn’t know that before he called, I was ready to give up. His call gave me the strength and mindset to go on. I made some changes and my April sales were up 15 percent over last year, and my May sales were up 20 percent (that is with being closed and having to find different ways of doing business). I’ve been a fan of his for a long time, but now even more so. Thank you, Shane Decker. — Susan Kauffman, Black Dog Jewelers, Lewisburg, PA
  • I wish our government had a much better response to this crisis, and our experts knew more about the virus before their ever-changing pronouncements and warnings. Even the stimulus and PPP and enhanced unemployment programs are very confusing to unhelpful. Very disappointed in our leadership both national and local, and I do understand the anger, but never the hate and violence. — James Gattas, James Gattas Jewelers, Memphis, TN
  • We were already at a breaking point. If you can move past even this on top of everything, then you deserve to make it. The strong will survive the storm. — Kelli Reinbold, Vernon Jewelers, Salina, KS
  • We are very nervous about the present and the future because of COVID-19 and the events of the past few days. No looting here, but much of it is happening close to us. I am ready to retire … — Meg Rankin, J. Rankin Jewellers, Edmonds, WA
  • Keep showing up, keep trying, never give up. Keep your faith intact. Keep your people happy. There are jewelry stores that survived the Great Depression, recessions, riots and more, and they still exist. It’s a matter of showing up and trying. Without faith, hope and perseverance there’s nothing. Also, be kind to yourself. As my dad used to say to me, “If you don’t love yourself, you can’t love anyone else.” Or something like that … — Andrea Riso, Talisman Collection, El Dorado Hills, CA
  • I feel that the world has taken a nuclear bomb and used it to kill an ant. The fallout from this will last for years. It’s the first time in history that we have locked up the healthy in order to protect the vulnerable. In hindsight, it might not have been the best thing to do. — Ralph Vandenberg, Vandenberg’s Jewellers, Edmonton, AB
  • God help the poor jewelers that were looted and had their lives turned upside down. — Joseph Mortimer, Select Jewelers, Feasterville-Trevose, PA
  • The pandemic has been hard enough on everyone, but now to think that someone could smash our windows and destroy our business is nerve-wracking. I’m raising three kids, running a business and trying to be a civil and decent member of our society/community. The thought that some lawless individuals could cause such damage to the life I’ve built makes me feel sick. — Marc Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX
  • Terrible time to be in this business. I really hope that we see a repeat of the 2008-2009 gold rush. — Chad Elliott Coogan, Gems of La Costa, Carlsbad, CA
  • Fortunately, we are in a Republican /conservative state. Unfortunately, many of our suppliers are not. We as a nation need to support small business! — Charlene Foltz, Pentaltha Jewelers, Tallahassee, FL
  • To retire or not to retire, after 42 years, that is the question. We think we have another decade or two in us, but how much can you deal with? Risk in this business isn’t what it used to be. What’s next? — Robert Borneman, Diamond Jewelers, Centereach, NY
  • Thanks for all the effort put forth for the INSTORE Online Jewelry Week. Next time (?), I would love to see the education portion each day done a little earlier in the day, perhaps starting the whole day earlier, even by an hour. Keep up the good work, INSTORE! — Laura Sipe, JC Sipe, Indianapolis, IN
  • Great articles and emails to keep our sanity during the craziness! — Annette Kinzie, Leonard Jewelry, Stillwater, OK
  • Your magazine is a beacon of light. — John E. Thompson, Shabree Jewelers, Sheboygan, WI
  • Keep up the great work — always enjoy the articles and learn things every month if not every week from you! — Tom R. Nelson, Nelson Jewelry, Spencer, IA
  • We are relying on faithful customers to come back, as a few have throughout. But for the first time, we are considering the possibility of closing, maybe in a couple of years. — Eve J. Alfille, Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio, Evanston, IL

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