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David Douglas Diamonds & Fine Jewelry Marietta, GA

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FOR ALMOST TWO DECADES, Doug Meadows’ jewelry business muddled along. At best, it could have been described as your typical underachieving small independent, covering its costs but little more. 

Then, just over two years ago, Boom! Things took off. Sales growth surged to 30 percent. Turnover has doubled and now Meadows faces the prospect of having to leave his strip-center store in Marietta, on the outskirts of Atlanta, GA, to find bigger premises. 

Ask Meadows what’s driven this dramatic turnaround and he struggles to pinpoint any one factor.  

?It’s just all the little things you do,? he says, reciting a long list of areas he’s improved in his business, including taking better care of his customers, staff and vendors, more aggressive marketing, more careful inventory control and more focused sales meetings.  

The catalyst for these changes can be traced to a summer morning in 2004, when Meadows lost the lease on his former location. He decided things needed to change. ?I asked myself: Who am I, what do I want to be to my customers?? 

One of Meadows’ first decisions was to find mentors. Two of the most important were David Nygaard, who runs a successful chain of six jewelry stores in nearby Virginia, and Brent Harden, in much more distant Ottawa, Canada. Meadows calls a trip he made to see Harden a ?huge eye-opener.? ?To see how focused he was, how clearly defined he has things, each area fueling each other. I realized I needed more focus, more passion,? he says. 

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Meadows, a third-generation bench jeweler, hired some consultants to help him improve the nuts and bolts of running his business, such as getting his inventory mix right, and found a business coach to give the store a ?strategic intent.?  

?Our strategic intent is to be intentional about honoring and blessing all who God brings our way,? says Meadows, a devout Christian who does missionary work on his vacations. 

Ultimately, though, it was those ?little things.? Among them: 

Paying his staff a dollar every time a customer tries on a piece of jewelry. The cost adds up to a couple of hundred dollars a month but has ?increased sales dramatically,? he says. 

Showing his better merchandise to customers straight away. ?In the past we would ask customers, ?How much do you want to spend?’ That’s a stupid question. Now we show them more expensive pieces and let the customers qualify themselves. 

Hold more events. His ?Dazzling Diamonds for Mom? contest attracted essays from more than 5,000 children from 96 area schools.

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