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COVID-19 Has Some Silver Linings for Jewelers — Here Are the Upsides

The pandemic has led to some positive outcomes.

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VERY FEW THINGS are ever purely and irredeemably bad. COVID-19 probably came close but jewelers were able to find some of the positive things that happened as a result of the pandemic, when we asked in the 2020 Big Survey. Here are some of the highlights, in roughly descending order of the frequency they were cited:

Chance to Spend More Time with Family

  • “I have spent more time with my 19- and 22-year-olds then I ever have since giving them birth. We spent nearly three months together at our beach house in Florida. (My store is in Illinois). I LOVED every minute and the loss of income. I am young and healthy. I’ll figure out a way to make it up.”
  • “Got to chase my wife around the house a little bit more.”
  • “More family time even though my teenagers don’t seem to appreciate it.”

Chance to Spend Less Time with the Family

  • “My wife works from home now. Wait! You asked for a positive? Um, yeah. Let’s go with that.”
  • “I don’t have to go to any school events, concerts, plays. I consider this a real plus.”

Improvement in Business

  • “Business is good as no one is traveling and everyone got a stimulus check.”
  • “The closing ratios are much higher. When a customer comes in, they are coming to buy!”
  • “My only competitor in town closed.”

Reassessing What’s Important

  • “Took the extra time to reflect on what I really want from my business and my personal life. Had the time to step back and see where I was putting my efforts and was able to shift towards more productive and meaningful projects.”
  • “It opened our eye and we are now focused more than ever on getting out of debt.”
  • “You realize how precious life is and how easily it can be taken away. It’s something that’s always in the back of your mind, but COVID has brought it to the forefront.”

Catching Up on Long-Delayed Jobs

  • “Spent every day 12 hours each day during shutdown at store cleaning vault and organizing. Great feeling of accomplishment.”
  • “I had two months just to create settings of gemstones I have had years and decades that I just never got around to. “
  • “We were able to have staff complete the GIA training for Applied Jewelry Professionals while we were closed and they could focus on the program.”

The Chance to Slow Down

  • “I had almost 2 1/2 months of getting up when I wanted, going to work when I wanted, leaving work when I wanted and spending more time with family and my dog. I loved it!”
  • “We watched spring happen through our windows, rather than just glancing at it as we rush from one place to another.”

Forced to Up Our Online Game

  • “We worked really hard on updating our website and had time for new pictures and descriptions to make it e-commerce.”
  • “Forced me to think outside of the box. I did Facebook auctions to get rid of aged merchandise. Carried me through, the auctions were hugely successful. We are currently 45% ahead of last year.”

Learned to Do More with Less

  • “Forced me to cut the fat! I was working to pay for everyone else (employees/landlord/vendors, etc.) With fewer expenses it all goes to me.”
  • “We found that we can do better with shorter hours, less staff and less inventory.”
  • “Oddly, we are in a better financial position now. We have shortened our hours and have only the two of us (husband/wife owners) working and are finding that we are able to close more sales. Customers appreciate dealing directly with the owner. Business has been good and we are cautiously optimistic.”

Getting Rid of Underperforming Staff

  • “I realized that I had to cut loose an employee. I had tried for months to get this employee to just do what I asked … She was my first employee to fire and I will never let it get as far as it did again. Thank you, COVID, for the life lesson.”
  • “My staff is more hungry than ever to remain laser focused to keep employed.”

Drop in Interest Rates

  • “Ultra-low interest rates have allowed me to refinance my building and pocket another $175,000 in savings and cut six full years off the mortgage.”

Chance to Recharge

  • “Actually enjoyed two months off after being in the industry for 40 years. Was able to refocus and get a little excited about creating jewelry again.”

Opportunities That Arise in a Downturn

  • “An old established local store (trade account) is retiring and sending all their customers my way.”
  • “Good wholesale buys from vendors that needed to sell inventory.”

Sneak Preview of Retirement

  • “Found that I enjoy spending time away from work and look forward to retirement.”
  • “I discovered that retirement is not what I want to do. I went stir crazy at home.”

Found Love

  • “I wasn’t looking but met a wonderful man in August of 2019. We started dating. Then living together. The time we had to just enjoy, share, and get to know each other during COVID was like a honeymoon. We will never forget the time we were both forced to relax and not worry about work, and just ‘be.’”

People Are Nicer During Crises

  • “Our community really pulled together and tried to support every small business during curbside times. It worked, not one single business closed due to the lockdown.”
  • “Clients reaching out to us to make sure we are doing OK. Some of them buying jewelry just to support our business.”

Chance to Get to Know/Appreciate Staff Better

  • “I believe this experience has brought my good employees closer to the business and allowed me to see who are my true and trustworthy team members.”

Improved Efficiency on the Sales Floor

  • “With all the packing and unpacking our store {over 5X’s} during the pandemic shut down, vault transfer when our business neighbors bugged out overnight, then the subsequent rioting/looting, and reopening amidst COVID-19 initiatives has made my staff extremely familiar with our on-hand inventory. The bonus of cleaning every item after customers handle goods keeps my show cases sparkling. Handling customers with care and safety protocols has slowed down the turnaround time so we can effectively add on sales and upsell.”

Being Forced to Try New Things/Take Tough Decision

  • “It has forced us to create all jewelry in house when vendors shut down. We have thrived and excelled.”
  • “We opened an outdoor, fresh air showroom, and we are meeting people that would otherwise never set foot in a jewelry store!”
  • “I closed my weaker second store. Had a moderately decent GOB that paid nearly all of the liabilities for both stores. I hated to see it go, but financially I’m in a way better place and the stressors are down.”

Government Financial Support

  • “Getting the SBA loan we were able to pay off all our debt and have a safety net with a very small interest rate.”
  • “PPP.”

Increased Resilience

  • “I know my family can survive, adapt and move forward.”
  • “We know now that things can change in an instant. I think that has made us more brave in implementing changes.”
  • “Having our next gen get the experience of managing through a crisis while we are still here to guide them through it.”

No Flu Season

“I haven’t heard of a case of the flu in MONTHS.”

Working From Home

  • “Love working from home and the ability to go appointment only for health reasons gives management and staff a better quality of life.”

Choosing to Get Married

  • “My boyfriend and I decided that it was time to get married. The thought of one of us going to the hospital and the other not being able to be with them because a lack of a wedding ring made us think about that.”

Less Traffic

  • “I did really enjoy there being no road traffic.”

The Possibility of No More Trump/People Waking Up to Democrat Perfidy

  • “That President Trump may not be re-elected.”
  • “People seem to finally be catching on to the tactics of the media and the Democrat Party.”

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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