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Connie Thurmond




When Connie Thurmond and Verlon Cross decided to join forces in Bossier City, LA, they got the best of both their worlds. Thurmond is a retired teacher who began selling affordable jewelry and gifts out of her home even before she retired and opened her own store. She had built up a loyal clientele of friends and fellow teachers. “Teaching school and selling have a lot in common. In school you have to sell information to the students — and you had better be good at it. So selling was easy for me,” she says.  
Verlon Cross, a jeweler for 30 years, owned his own upscale store just three blocks from Thurmond’s. “Verlon was tired of dealing directly with customers and wanted to just do bench work,” Thurmond explains. A partnership was born. The salon next to her business had closed, so they were able to expand her location to 2,800 square feet, and Verlon moved in and brought with him much needed employee reinforcements and upscale brands. “He does all the repairs and custom work,” Thurmond says. “I work the sales, manage the employees, do the ads, do the buying and come up with ideas to try in the store.”  
— Eileen McClelland 
7 a.m. The clock goes off but it’s too dark outside to get up. I listen to the news and weather.  
8:20 a.m. Go to kitchen for a short breakfast. A bowl of Rice Krispies and a glass of V-8 — pretty healthy for a long day! 
8:45 a.m. Leave for the store — stop on the way to pick up laundry. I call Verlon to see if I need to make any more stops — no, no stops. 
9:10 a.m. Arrive at the store five minutes early. Say hello to the staff and sit down with Verlon for a discussion of the day. 
9:35 a.m. A Bossier City detective is knocking at the door; he is returning scrap gold taken in a burglary last year; we weigh it, and it is worth $2,900 with today’s gold prices.  
10 a.m. A woman comes in to drop off her Rolex — it’s not working — and lets her daughter pick out $325 worth of Pandora. Another lady comes in to see if we have a phone book. A salesman calls about a 2-carat diamond we have on memo. We still need to keep it. A lady comes in to redo a mounting. 
11 a.m. Busy with customers; one wants a custom ring made. I help her for 30 to 45 minutes. A woman comes by to see where we are on her ring; told her it would be ready in three days, so she wants to see what “stage” it is in. I tell her “No way! Our jeweler is an artist and would not let her see an unfinished product!” She believes it, thank goodness.  
12:30 p.m. I?go to a doctor’s appointment and pick up lunch.  
1:45 p.m. Back at work, the showroom is full. A woman comes in to pick up a chain. She was told that it was ready; it was not done. Oops! I take it back and put a spring ring on it, charge her $90; she is happy and on her way. 
2:35 p.m. Take first bite of a cold chicken sandwich, but I have to see a friend and customer and give him a better deal on stud earrings. We chat about his family, wrap his gift and he is on his way. 
3:10 p.m. A medical student comes in to “re-examine” his choice of a 2-carat round diamond for an engagement ring. He studies the stone inside and outside the store for 25 minutes. He chooses a 2.05-carat ideal-cut VVS2 clarity and I color and then he studies the semi-mount he had picked out. I answer most of his questions and have Verlon come out from the back to help. When Verlon comes to the front, you are important. Finally at 4:20 he chooses and will call me when he needs it. He has to get the money together. Eat two more bites of sandwich. 
4:30 p.m. A woman comes in to have her ring re-sized for the fourth time (no charge). She says we keep getting it wrong. This time, lets’s try a 5. Get a life!  
5 p.m. Finish the cold, cold sandwich. A woman comes in to pick up an antique ring (one she bought from us). We mounted her diamond in it, but she says it was not right. I tell her to give us time and we will make her happy! 
5:20 p.m. A woman picks up her Rolex and the appraisal is not ready; we will mail it to her.  
5:30 p.m. We close; I am too tired to talk. I do the books; we had a great day. Sold two rainbow pieces, two enhancers, three pairs of earrings and two pieces of Lorenzo, a three-stone diamond ring, and worked on the 2-carat sale. Had 17 repairs picked up and took in 11. Sold $950 worth of Pandora. 
6:45 p.m. Leave the store; I go to hear a motivational speaker. I need to get some energy!  
8:20 p.m. Stop and get a burrito. 
9:15 p.m. Get home and check e-mail and IJO’s Indy Channel.  
12:15 a.m. Go to bed. 
8:15 a.m. Leave house, get gas, pick up my friend, a sales associate, at the car shop.  
8:45 a.m. I check e-mail, have a Diet Coke with Verlon and I’m ready for the day. 
10 a.m. When I open the door, a woman is waiting to look at a diamond. She says she will come back to pick one of two diamonds (1 carat round). 
10:30 a.m. Salesperson comes in for an appointment. I sit down with him — we go through his stuff. 
11 a.m. Job applicant comes in for an interview. She will start next Friday. 
11:35 a.m. Back with the salesman; we continue. 
12 p.m. Customer comes in to see me about a watch. She buys a C & V watch for $275. 
12:30 p.m. Lady comes in to pick up her ring, with our mounting and her diamond. She loves it. 
1 p.m. Phone caller reports problem with a repair. Sales associate goes to pick up lunch. 
1:30 p.m. Back to salesman. Verlon comes out to look over my picks. 
2 p.m Start to eat. 
2:05 p.m. Lady comes in looking for an engagement ring. We choose two for her fianc? to see. 
3:30 p.m. Finish my cold sandwich and write six appraisals. 
4:30 p.m. Sell a fashion color stone ring for $650. 
5 p.m. Go through mail and look over tickets from Tuesday. 
5:15 p.m. A mother and daughter come in to pick up a repair. It won’t be ready till Friday. 
5:30 p.m. Close the store, do the books. Husband calls and tells me to meet him and friends for dinner. 
7 p.m. Leave store — nice sales, made a hire! I’m excited. Great day! 
9 p.m. Check e-mails and IJO’s Indy channel. 
11:30 p.m. Go to bed. 
Day off. Doctor’s appointment. Shop for new car. Stop at Sam’s to buy a camera system for the store. 
7 a.m. Awake, breakfast, on my way. 
9:10 a.m. Get to work, unload car — sit with Verlon to discuss the day — have a Diet Coke.  
10 a.m. Open. Phone calls. Talk to customers as they come in. 
10:30 a.m. Finish calls. Clean out one safe. Look over repairs to be picked up today. Send three back for adjustments. 
11 a.m. Check the mail, just a few bills! 
11:30 a.m. Clean jewelry for a woman customer who picks up repair and leaves one. 
12:30 p.m. Couple comes in to pick up pearl ring and buy earrings. While they are looking, her pearl bracelet breaks. What a place for it to break! She leaves it for us to restring. 
1 p.m. Sales associate goes after lunch — huge hamburgers — we split these, they are huge — but delicious. I am able to finish in one sitting without interruption. 
1:45 p.m. A husband comes in to pay for his wife’s new 2.40-carat round diamond — Yea! 
2 p.m. A couple comes in to pick up a custom-made cross. She loves it and is more pleased than she expected. She has to thank Verlon. 
2:30 p.m. A friend’s husband comes in to pick up her new wedding band with five diamonds with a total weight of 1.56; it is outstanding.  
3 p.m. An (annoying) salesman comes in and we chat — he tells me I sold something (on memo) I didn’t sell. We have words. I tell him, come tomorrow and pick up your “junk.” He tries to be nice — I am tired of him and his merchandise. He keeps talking (loudly). I walk off and ignore him (I will pay $1,200 tomorrow for something I didn’t sell) and hope to never see him again. 
3:30 p.m. Mother and daughter come in to pick up beautiful amethyst and diamond pendant. We chat and they ask me to wear my dragonfly pin on Saturday for them to see.  
4 p.m. Work with a couple on an engagement ring. The woman wants a 1-carat princess-cut diamond; her fianc? agrees. We look at six diamonds, then come the mountings — after about an hour of touching every mounting, she chooses four and says, let him pick later. She wants to be surprised. 
5:15 p.m. Sit down and discuss the day with Verlon and talk about six custom jobs he wants to finish tomorrow, he is going to be out of town next week for AutoCAD — Matrix training. 
5:45 p.m. Close store, do books and talk about the day. 
6:15 p.m. Talk to my sales manager about the new hire, who has changed her mind about working here due to problems at home. We are back to looking for a sales associate. 
7 a.m. We’re short on people today, so I have to be early to help put out jewelry. 
8:45 a.m. Arrive at work.  
9 a.m. We start putting out the jewelry, but I’m rusty.  
9:35 a.m. Verlon and I sit down and discuss the day. We hope the couple comes in and likes the yellow diamond engagement ring. 
10:30 a.m. Friends come in to trade up diamond stud earrings they bought two weeks ago. They are giving them as a 21st birthday gift to a niece and want something better. We find a .80 TCW pair and do the trade — I wrap them and they are very happy. Now the woman wants to look for her birthday present. She looks at a pre-owned Rolex but says it’s too bulky and looks at a gent’s 14-karat black-strap tank watch. She likes it, he says. Put it up. Not bad for a Saturday. 
11:30 a.m. Mother and daughter come in to see my custom-made dragonfly and rave over it! Daughter picks up her 3-carat wedding ring that we repaired and refurbished. She needs a birthday gift around $100 so we sell her a Pandora bracelet. They love the idea they can add to it! Wrap it up and they are out of here. 
12:45 p.m. Heat up a Lean Cuisine for lunch. A young couple comes in to pick up gent’s wedding band. We talk about engraving champagne glasses for their wedding; they love it. I also give them matching sterling-silver wedding bands to wear on the honeymoon so they can leave the good stuff home; they love the idea. I had put the sterling-silver rings in a pink and green satin pouch; she loved it and wants to buy nine for her bridesmaids. I said I would give them to her (I buy them to give out to customers), but she insists on paying for them. What a sweet couple. It makes this job so enjoyable. 
1:30 p.m. See the “yellow diamond” customer coming in. I get the salesperson, and I take over her customer. 
1:45 p.m. Help a young man with a gift for his girlfriend; show him Lorenzo, Pandora and Cherie Dori bracelets. He buys a Lorenzo ring. 
2:30 p.m. Cute couple of college students come in because a stone fell out of a Lorenzo piece. No charge; we will put it back in (they bought it at Valentine’s Day). 
3:15 p.m. A 40ish couple comes in to look at a diamond engagement ring. They argue and can’t reach a compromise. I try to offer advice. They leave and she says they’ll be back, but I’m glad they’re gone. Do I want them back? 
4 p.m. We close (early on Saturday). I do the books. My salespeople pack up. 
4:45 p.m. I do paperwork in my office. 
5:30 p.m. Go home. 
Closed two days, and out of town to visit family one day. 
9 a.m. We’re short-handed, so I get to the store at 8:50 to help put out jewelry.  
10 a.m. Start to write appraisals and a salesman shows up. 
10:45 a.m. Visit with the salesman and look at his nice bridal line. I don’t think I need anything, but, oh well, I take three cute semi-mounts, one pair of 1 TCW diamond earrings for a great price and a 3.05-carat round diamond. Not bad for not needing anything! 
11:45 a.m. Young man comes in to see a ring he looked at three weeks ago. Do I remember it? He has to be kidding! He has them on a card I gave him, yea! I still have them in the hold box. We look and look at mountings and finally settle on one. We write it up and he pays half and will pay the rest when he picks it up. 
12:30 p.m. Young friend comes in to talk about her life and her new love. She is 27 and he is 40. Wow!  
1 p.m. Heat up a Lean Cuisine panini for lunch. I cannot believe I sit the whole time and finish — a very rare occasion. 
1:30 p.m. I call a fellow IJO member and help him out with an attorney in this area who can help him with a bankrupt customer. 
2 p.m. Mail comes, two bad checks for $1,400 total.  
2:30 p.m. Customer comes in to look at a ring we had cleaned up (bought it in a gold buy — 3 TCW cluster ring). She loves it; it fits. She buys it after four hours of looking at everything else.  
3:30 p.m. Work on paperwork in the office; get a diamond on memo out to send back.  
4:15 p.m. Sell a Pandora bracelet and two charms. 
4:30 p.m. Sell a cross that we have had for a while; it needed a good home. 
5 p.m. A woman comes in to drop off her antique watch for us to attach to a wide yellow gold bangle; it is beautiful! She looks at Lorenzo and buys a piece (she has seven pieces so far)! Picks up a ring we sized for her. 
5:20 p.m. Young couple comes in to look at engagement rings. He tells me I taught his mother in school and asks if I remember when he was born (he is 21). Boy, I am getting old. His girlfriend picks out two rings, cannot decide. He will bring his mom back to help. It will be a surprise for her. 
5:50 p.m. We close (5:30 is closing time). Do paperwork. 
7:30 p.m. Leave the store.



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