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Day’s Jewelers Employees Declare Sundays Off

Staff, customers and landlords support decision to close on Sundays.

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The Augusta team bonds on a Sunday with an axe-throwing activity.
The Augusta team bonds on a Sunday with an axe-throwing activity.

WHEN A MAJORITY of employees said they’d love to have Sundays off, the management team at Day’s Jewelers took that request to heart. When it came to the bigger picture, staff surveys had stressed the importance of creating a healthy work-life balance.

When company president Joe Corey took the issue to Day’s customers, support for the proposal was nearly universal. Customers were asked, “Would you support Day’s jewelers closing on Sundays, and if we did close would you shop elsewhere?” Of 1,000 responses, 92 percent vowed to stay loyal.

Customers appreciated being asked and were impressed that Day’s cared to make work-life balance a priority.

Day’s Jewelers employs 140 with eight stores in Maine and New Hampshire. At some locations, leases required them to be open seven days, but the company was able to obtain exceptions to that rule.

TOP: New Day’s employees gather to discover the history of the company and enjoy a day filled with activities. BOTTOM: South Portland team members gather for a group photo.

TOP: New Day’s employees gather to discover the history of the company and enjoy a day filled with activities. BOTTOM: South Portland team members gather for a group photo.

Because the company is employee-owned, Day’s distributed a financial analysis to ensure everyone realized that closing Sundays could affect revenues. Eighty percent of employees still voted to close. And since the change went into effect in July, revenues have risen, due perhaps to positive publicity about the decision. It’s also simplified scheduling since six day weeks are more flexible.

Day’s has long made a point of regularly soliciting feedback from staff. One method is to encourage the use of both virtual and physical suggestion boxes.

Employees also complete an extensive survey each year as part of the entry process for the “Best Places to Work in Maine” contest. For seven years, Day’s has been deemed one of the best places to work in Maine based on employee responses to questions about company culture, leadership, their level of satisfaction and a variety of HR-related criteria. Best Places to Work recognizes 100 businesses each year who go above and beyond to give their employees the best possible work environment and experience.

Day’s surveys its employees internally, too, to discover what drives them, what makes them happy, and what might tempt them to leave. “Since our employees are the company’s greatest asset, it’s very important for us to ensure we do everything we can to support their needs while also keeping our customers’ confidence and trust in us,” Corey says.

Day’s will open on Sundays during December, and staff may work occasionally on Sundays for special events, inventory management or team building.
Elisabeth Hebert, Augusta, ME, store manager, says the new schedule has allowed her team to gather outside of the store. “We’ve added some new faces to our Augusta store, and for that reason, we recently chose a Sunday for my entire team to take the day to go axe-throwing for a team outing,” she says. “It was nice to just let loose, have some fun and get to know each other on a more personal level in a relaxed environment. Enriching our bond will only make us a stronger team. When we’re in sync, we are better able to serve our customers.”

Day’s Nashua, NH, store was named one of America’s Coolest Stores in 2019 by INSTORE.

Day’s Nashua, NH, store was named one of America’s Coolest Stores in 2019 by INSTORE.

Day’s became employee owned last year through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan as a way for Joe’s parents, Jeff and Kathy Corey, to transition into retirement without liquidating the business or disrupting the company culture. “The ESOP model fit with our culture, so it was a good decision for us,” Joe Corey says. “Our company has always been very autonomous, very employee-centric, giving people the responsibility to make decisions.”

To build on that ownership culture, Day’s has formed an ESOP communications committee that consists of both management and non-management staff.

“The more they feel they are owners in the company and really participating, the more vested they will be,” Joe Corey says. “No matter what your position is, you can still have a voice in this.”

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