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Couple Close Jewelry Store After Decades in Business Because ‘When You’re Done, You’re Done’

It’s one of 63 jewelers reported in November as closed.

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AFTER 45 YEARS in the jewelry business, Larry Bramoweth woke up one Sunday morning, turned to his wife and said, “That’s it.”

“Oh, thank you for saying that,” replied Connie Bramoweth, a jeweler herself for the 35 years of their marriage. “I’ve been thinking the same thing for weeks.”

4 Dead After Jewelry-Store Robbery Leads to Police Chase and Shootout (Video)
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4 Dead After Jewelry-Store Robbery Leads to Police Chase and Shootout (Video)

Truck Slams Jewelry Store in $200,000 Burglary — Watch the Video
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Truck Slams Jewelry Store in $200,000 Burglary — Watch the Video

Video: How to Achieve a $100,000 Day in Your Jewelry Store
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Video: How to Achieve a $100,000 Day in Your Jewelry Store

The very next day, the “Closed” sign went up on the door of Bram’s Jewelry, a fixture for 20 years on tourist-packed Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, CA.

Brams is one of 63 jewelers reported in November as closed by the Jewelers Board of Trade, including six acquisitions and five consolidations.

Before they could even list their 1,750-square foot building for sale, the Bramoweths got a lease offer from a group that intends to turn the space into a microbrewery.

The process of getting the necessary permits and zoning approvals continues even now, but the decision to close the jewelry store was smooth sailing from the start.

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“Larry and I were in exactly the same place,” says Connie, even though neither had acknowledged it to the other until that fateful Sunday morning.

For awhile by then, Connie had been watching the crowds gather daily out on Palm Canyon Drive, thinking to herself, “Oh, please don’t come in.”

“It sounds crazy, I know,” she says now, “but when you’re done you’re done.”

Connie, at least, is not entirely done with jewelry. She continues to do the custom work that has long been her specialty. Her Miller welder continues to be her “favorite toy in all the world.”

As Christmas neared, Connie was happily baking and reading and finishing up a major project for a customer in St. Louis, where the Bramoweths had a store for 10 years before relocating to Palm Springs.

The transition into retirement has been a little less smooth for Larry, says his wife. “He knew what he didn’t want to do, but he didn’t know what he wanted to do. It’s still kind of a conundrum for him.”

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Connie was an antiques dealer when she met her husband, a jeweler who proceeded to teach her everything he could about the business.

He was the salesman of the couple, she says, which freed her to work at her bench in the back.

Praising the internet as “a wonderful tool,” Connie says that any jeweler’s survival today depends on building a strong online presence.

“And that’s not easy,” she says.

It’s also, she says, “not really me.” It’s custom design that interests her, the kind of projects where it might take three years to find the perfect opal. “Today, it’s all about instant gratification.”

While the internet can be of help in the design area as well, there are limits, she says. CAD “can produce some spectacularly beautiful pieces, but in my opinion, they can also be spectacularly boring.”

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“You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all,” she explains.

Connie urges business newcomers to become familiar with one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces typically found in estate sales. “Some of the older pieces, well, you’re never going to get that” from a software program.

“Learn everything you can,” she recommends. “And don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.”

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4 Dead After Jewelry-Store Robbery Leads to Police Chase and Shootout (Video)

2 suspects were killed, along with a UPS driver and a bystander.

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A jewelry-story robbery in South Florida led to a police chase and shootout that left four people dead, The Associated Press reports.

Police responded to a silent alarm just after 4 p.m. at Regent Jewelers in Coral Gables. Officers arrived to find shots being fired, with two suspects still on site, according to AP.

The robbers took off in a truck and shortly afterward carjacked a UPS truck, authorities said. A harrowing police chase ensued, continuing for 20 miles and ending at a busy intersection in Miramar.

When police approached the UPS truck, a shootout erupted, leaving the two suspects dead, along with the UPS driver and a person described as an “innocent bystander” in a nearby vehicle, AP reports.

“We have just began to process the crime scene,” FBI Special Agent in Charge George Piro was quoted saying. “As you can imagine, this is going to be a very complicated crime scene.”

A jewelry-store employee was reportedly injured, but it’s unknown whether she was shot. It’s also unknown what, if anything, was taken from the store.

Read more at The Associated Press

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Truck Slams Jewelry Store in $200,000 Burglary — Watch the Video

The culprits left the vehicle at the scene.

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Burglars slammed a truck into a jewelry store in Los Altos, CA, and took $200,000 worth of merchandise, police say.

Marcel Jewelry Design was targeted early Monday morning, ABC 7 reports.

The stolen truck rammed the front window of the store three times, finally making it through. The burglars got out and broke jewelry cases with a hammer. They left after less than a minute.

The truck was left at the scene.

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Jewelers Report Bright Start to the 2019 Holiday Season

Thanks to higher average tickets and solid foot traffic.

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INDEPENDENT JEWELERS ACROSS the country reported a strong start to the 2019 holiday season with one in three saying they were ahead of last year’s numbers thanks to higher average tickets and solid foot traffic, especially on Small Business Saturday.

“Customers started shopping earlier, which is a blessing considering the shorter holiday this year,” said Rick Nichols, owner of Nassau Jewelry in Fernandina Beach, FL.

Dennis Petimezas, owner of Watchmakers Diamonds & Jewelry in Johnstown, PA, said he noticed some caution among early shoppers but they are “bringing in the big-ticket items when they do make a decision.”

More than a third of the jewelers who answered our first 2019 holiday season mini survey reported an average sale that was in excess of $600, while 37 percent said it was up from last year. Only 9 percent of jewelers said their average ticket was down. Diamond fashion jewelry, particularly diamond stud earrings, was selling well.

While only a small portion of jewelers described the start to the vital holiday period as “disappointing” (12%) or “dismal” (2%) few were getting ahead of themselves. Increased competition, especially from big online retailers such as Amazon, means most jewelers are expecting to put in some long shifts over the next four weeks, while offering extra personalized service. Then there are the vagaries of the weather.

“This is my 45th year and it’s always unpredictable,” said Larry W. Hall, owner of Baker & Baker Jewelers in Marietta, OH. “I have ‘jacked up’ my staff on the attention-to-detail factors, i.e., look into the customer’s eyes often and, anyone walking in is greeted in seconds. I am looking at the security camera to see if we I recognize the customer to possibly greet them by name … ‘Hello, Mary and Jim!’ Happy holidays…’ and I offer to clean their jewelry and now our sales staff has a captive audience to sell to.”

The first 2019 Holiday Season Mini survey was taken by more than 100 independent jewelers who are part of our Brain Squad readers group. We will send out more surveys over the course of the holiday season. Look out for the results each Tuesday.

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