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Editor's Note

Editor’s Note: Eileen McClelland On Selling Season




All stores can stand to learn from those who depend on seasonal business.

Published in the March 2014 issue

For this issue’s Big Story, owners and managers whose businesses depend on seasonal visitors. They deal with the same issues most of our readers face, although some of those issues are on the extreme side.

Consider the challenges:

A winter average of one customer per day while summer visitors travel in packs, overwhelming a small staff.


An extremely small window of opportunity to get a brand message across to potential customers who are in town for a week or a weekend.

The necessity of offering inventory that is radically different from what their customers can buy back home.

Keeping the staff productive and on the payroll year round. Steve Wardle, owner of Forest Beach Designer Goldsmiths in Chatham, MA, is philosophical about it. “I take my lessons from nature; the cactus drinks up when it’s raining and holds on till the next rainy season.”

So when business slows nearly to a standstill and much of the town shuts down, he buys, makes and ships jewelry and maintains his “wee cottage” of a store, built in 1780. “I could come to work in a bathing suit and no one would know other than the UPS man,” he says. Come summer, the population swells from 6,000 to 80,000, and his preparation is rewarded as he meets new customers and welcomes back those with second homes. “We are a hometown jeweler for people from so many other towns,” he says. “They live everywhere, from Switzerland to South America, but largely our customers are Northeastern, from the six or eight states around us.”

We all have something to learn from the ideas resort jewelers have conceived to make their rollercoaster rides in retail as steady and lucrative as possible.

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Wilkerson Helped This Jeweler to Navigate His Retirement Sale Despite a Pandemic

Hosting a going-out-of-business sale when the coronavirus pandemic hit wasn’t a part of Bob Smith’s game plan for his retirement. Smith, the owner of E.M. Smith Jewelers in Chillicothe, Ohio, says the governor closed the state mid-way through. But Smith chose Wilkerson, and Wilkerson handled it like a champ, says Smith. And when it was time for the state to reopen, the sale continued like nothing had ever happened. “I’d recommend Wilkerson,” he says. “They do business the way we do business.”

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