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Eight-Figure Independents

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Eight-Figure Independents

The U.S. jewelry stores doing $10 million or more in annual sales in a single location — how they got there, what they’re proudest of, and their biggest challenges ahead.

BY TRACE SHELTON AND JOSH WIMMER

Published in the March-April 2013 issue

What’s the pinnacle of jewelry retailing? It’s something every jeweler understands: Making customers happy through the sale of jewelry. But while this result can only be experienced on an individual basis, we can all agree that the sum total is a good indication of which stores are best at reaching this zenith time and time again. The most accomplished of these are the eight-figure independents: stores earning $10 million or more in annual sales in a single location (and sometimes doing so in more than one location).

From first-generation retailers to stores that have been in business for almost 200 years, our list of eight-figure independents runs the gamut in terms of history and personality, but the characteristics they share are notable: A passion for being the best at customer service, a strategic vision that never wavers, and a willingness to look to the future and embrace new customers and technologies.

They stick to the old maxims that are easy to say but hard to do. John Green of Lux Bond & Green’s secret to breaking eight figures? “Work hard and keep working hard. Don’t try to be everything to everybody. Practice what you preach.” And they don’t hesitate to tell the unvarnished truth, like Reinhold Jewelers owner Marie Helene Morrow’s advice to jewelry retailers: “Love your business or get out.”

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It’s not easy to reach the top, much less stay there — especially in today’s fast-changing retail landscape. And so it seems appropriate to honor those who have crested that eight-figure mark and earned the right to be mentioned among the industry’s elite. More important, we have the opportunity to learn from these giants of retail, in hopes that next time, even more INDESIGN readers will be found on this illustrious list!

* Disclaimer: Some stores that we contacted chose not to be included in this story, others did not respond, and there are probably others that we do not even know about. If your store is an eight-figure independent and would like to be included in our next listing, please email [email protected].

 

AUCOIN HART JEWELERS
METAIRIE, LA
www.aucoinhart.com
PRINCIPALS: Tommy Aucoin, Sr.; Tommy Aucoin, Jr.; Ryan Aucoin
NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 1
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 45
TOP DESIGNER LINES: Rolex, David Yurman, Marco Bicego, Penny Preville, Mikimoto

BIGHAM JEWELERS
NAPLES, FL
www.bighamjewelers.com
PRINCIPALS: Kathy Bigham, Gary Bigham, Daniel Kelly
NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 1
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 15
TOP DESIGNER LINES: Elizabeth Locke, Yurman, JB Star, Penny Preville, and Glick

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DEBOULLE
DALLAS, TX
www.deboulle.com
PRINCIPALS: Denis and Karen Boulle
NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 1
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 16
TOP DESIGNER LINES:Patek Philippe, Rolex, Breguet, Buccellati, the deBoulle Collection

IW MARKS JEWELERS
HOUSTON, TX
www.iwmarks.com
PRINCIPALS: Bradley and Daniel Marks
NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 1
TOP DESIGNER LINES: Rolex, Omega, Charriol, Mikimoto, Lagos

JAMES FREE JEWELERS
DAYTON AND MONTGOMERY, OH
www.jamesfree.com
PRINCIPALS: Michael S. Karaman
NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 2
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 50
TOP DESIGNER LINES: David Yurman, Rolex, Roberto Coin, Patek Philippe, Mikimoto

JAY ROBERTS JEWELERS
MARLTON, NJ
www.jayrobertsjewelers.com
PRINCIPALS: Jake Spigelman and Jay Golde
NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 1
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 27
TOP FIVE DESIGNER LINES: David Yurman, Chopard, Cartier, Breitling, Panerai

KING JEWELERS
AVENTURA, FL and NASHVILLE, TN
www.kings1912.com
PRINCIPALS: Scott, Maxine, David, and Jono King
NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 2
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 40
TOP DESIGNER LINES: Rolex, Harry Winston, Forevermark, Breguet, Chopard

LESTER LAMPERT
CHICAGO, IL
www.lesterlampert.com
PRINCIPALS: Lester, David and Maureen Lampert
NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 1
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 28
TOP DESIGNER LINES: Lester Lampert Cumullus Collection, Lester Lampert Pirouette Collection, Lester Lampert Voilla Earring Collection, Lester Lampert Hamsa Collection, and Lester Lampert AbSOLElutely Precious Collection

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LEVINSON JEWELERS
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL
www.levinsonjewelers.com
PRINCIPALS: Mark and Robin Levinson
NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 1
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 27
TOP DESIGNER LINES: Panerai, IWC, Jaeger, BVLGARI, Hermes

LONG JEWELERS
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA
www.longjewelers.net
PRINCIPALS: David Long, Jon Walp, Randy Chivers and Kim Kellam
NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 1, plus 2 sister locations set up as different businesses
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 25
TOP DESIGNER LINES: Hearts On Fire, Henri Daussi, Tacori, Judith Ripka, Verragio

LONG’S JEWELERS
BOSTON, MA
www.longsjewelers.com
PRINCIPALS: The Rottenberg family
NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 5
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: approx. 100
TOP DESIGNER LINES: Rolex, Breitling, David Yurman, Mikimoto, Memoire

LOUIS ANTHONY JEWELERS
PITTSBURG, PA
www.louisanthony.com
PRINCIPALS: Veronica and Louis Guarino, Jr.
NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 1
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 12
TOP DESIGNER LINES: David Yurman, Armenta, Antonini, Roberto Coin, Amelia Jewel

LUX BOND & GREEN
BOSTON, MA
www.lbgreen.com
PRINCIPALS: John Green, Marc Green, David Bonney
NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 8
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 105
TOP DESIGNER LINES: Lux Bond & Green diamond and jewelry collections, David Yurman, Roberto Coin, Ippolita, Mikimoto

MOLINA FINE JEWELERS
Phoenix, AZ
www.molinafinejewelers.com
PRINCIPALS: Alfredo J. Molina
NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 2
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 28
TOP DESIGNER LINES: Molina Collection

NEW YORK JEWELERS
CHICAGO, IL
www.nyjchicago.com
PRINCIPALS: Jerrold Rosenwasser, Sam Rosenwasser
NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 1
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 50+
TOP DESIGNER LINES: Rosewater (by New York Jewelers), Tag Heuer, Bell & Ross, Longines, Raymond Weil

RADCLIFFE JEWELERS
PIKESVILLE AND TOWSON, MD
www.radcliffejewelers.com
PRINCIPALS: John Shmerler and Paul Winicki
NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 2
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 65
TOP DESIGNER LINES: Rolex, Cartier, David Yurman, Roberto Coin

WHAT IS YOUR STORE’S “SECRET WEAPON”?

“At Tapper’s we think B.I.G. We have a big idea generator, Brainstorming, Innovating and Giving our customers experiences, events, and opportunities to learn

about what’s new in jewelry design.” Steven Tapper, Tapper’s “We institute our own training programs, particularly Hamilton University, a week-long intensive retreat that enables the Hamilton team to be successful.” Hank Siegel, Hamilton Jewelers

“Having our workshop fully engaged in the selling process gives our customers an experience they can’t find anywhere else.” Tommy Aucoin, Jr., Aucoin Hart Jewelers

“Our investment in our people. Our staff averages over ten years of experience with us and we have virtually no turnover. We have a high pay scale and offer no commission sales. We feel that this approach makes for a better overall atmosphere.” Jim Rosenheim, Tiny Jewel Box

“We are adding a gun room to the second level of our jewelry salon, which will open in mid-March 2013. Tapping into the shared interests of our customers and continuing to find touch points to keep connected is one ‘secret weapon.’” Harry Slack, deBoulle

“Our stores are strategically placed in high-traffic tourist destinations. The majority of our client base comes from Europe, western Europe, and Latin America. The majority of our staff speak two or more languages, which gives us an edge in delivering 100 percent satisfaction to our clients.” Lana Batchaeva, East Coast Jewelry

“‘Whatever it takes’ customer service.” John Ahee, Edmund T. Ahee Jewelers

“Our skill at developing, maintaining, and respecting relationships. This really is no secret — the hard part is maintaining all of them at the same time.” Richard Eiseman, Eiseman Jewels

“Having fun with our customers and our staff. This past holiday season we had each department do a live skit on Saturday mornings from Black Friday through Christmas Eve. We started the day laughing and seeing how fun and creative our people are. Did anyone else do a ‘Smyth Idol’ during the holiday season?” John Jackson, Smyth Jewelers

“Train, train, and train some more. We train for 15 minutes every morning and then every Saturday morning for an hour. We repeat, practice, and test them on everything from product to policy and procedure.” Dan Wixon, Wixon Jewelers

“Our front-line sales force are on the forefront of knowing what look is hot — not just now, but… what’s next!” Lori Roberts, Reis-Nichols

TINY JEWEL BOX
WASHINGTON, DC
www.tinyjewelbox.com
PRINCIPALS: Jim and Matthew Rosenheim
NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 1
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 35
TOP DESIGNER LINES: David Yurman, Alex Sepkus, Marco Bicego, Sethi Couture, Penny Preville

TIVOL
KANSAS CITYAND OVERLAND PARK, KS
www.tivol.com
NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 2
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 65
TOP DESIGNER LINES: Rolex, David Yurman, TIVOL Collection, Penny Preville, Patek Philippe

WINDSOR FINE JEWELERS
AUGUSTA, GA
www.windsorfinejewelers.com
PRINCIPALS: Donnie Thompson and Michael Zibman
NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: Windsor (1), Windsor gold buying (5), Pandora concept store (1), Friedman’s Jewelers (1)
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 85
TOP DESIGNER LINES: Rolex, David Yurman, Mikimoto, Tacori, Henri Daussi

WIXON JEWELERS
BLOOMINGTON, MN
www.wixonjewelers.com
PRINCIPALS: Dan and Hope Wixon
NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 1
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 28
TOP DESIGNER LINES: JB Star, A Link, Rolex, Patek Phillipe, Wixon Custom

XIV KARATS
BEVERLY HILLS, CA
www.xivkarats.com
PRINCIPAL: Cheryl Alpert, owner
NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 1
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 50
TOP DESIGNER LINES: Marco Bicego, Norman Silverman, Rahaminov, Roberto Coin, Garavelli

ZADOK JEWELERS
HOUSTON, TX
www.zadok.com
PRINCIPALS: Dror, Helene, Jonathan, Segev and Gilad Zadok
NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 1
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 45
TOP DESIGNER LINES: Tacori, Chopard, Bulgari

WHAT WOULD YOU TELL A RETAILER WHO’S STRIVING FOR THE EIGHT-FIGURE MARK?

“Establish a strong mission and identity and keep those values in mind during every decision-making moment.” Cathy Tivol, Tivol

“Be patient and make the right decisions for the long haul. There are no shortcuts in this business and sometimes it takes a long time for your bets to pay off.” Craig Rottenberg, Long’s Jewelers

“Reputation and integrity are No. 1. Your word is your bond, whether you are dealing with your clients, suppliers, or community.” Michael Pollak, Hyde Park Jewelers

“A larger store with more staff requires more of a business management approach. In larger stores, things don’t happen automatically. You have to have your management team and staff trained and in place to execute.” B.J. Nichols, Reis-Nichols

“Make the investment in people. Both customers’ and employees’ satisfaction are critical to long-term growth and success.” Michael Finn, E.B. Horn

“Be patient — it took us 50 years.” John Ahee, Edmund T. Ahee Jewelers

“Reputation and integrity are No. 1. Your word is your bond, whether you are dealing with your clients, suppliers, or community.” Michael Pollak, Hyde Park Jewelers

“Create the right ambience and the right experience for the high-net-worth client. Have the commitment to the merchandise that exceeds your average sale by a factor of 10. Always present an inspirational piece that delivers the “Wow!” factor.” Alfredo Molina, Molina Fine Jewelers

“You never want anyone to feel like there is nothing they can afford in your store, or to feel intimidated by an overly formal atmosphere.” Jake Spigelman, Jay Roberts Jewelers

“Marry a wealthy woman who loves jewelry!” Lester Lampert, Lester Lampert

“Be bold, be persistent, and do not be afraid to share your vision and plans with your staff, your clients, your vendors, and anyone who will listen.” Jon Walp, Long Jewelers

“Maintain a respectable profit margin while growing debt-free.” Richard Eiseman, Eiseman Jewels

“Don’t be afraid of trying something new, out of the box, or outside your normal mode of operation.” John Jackson, Smyth Jewelers

“To build your company to the next level and move to eight figures takes a strong understanding of who you are — not just who you think you are, but also the perception of who you are.” Michael Zibman, Windsor Fine Jewelers

“Chances are you need better inventory. We hear people say they don’t sell any three-carat diamonds, and our first question is, ‘How many do you stock?’ They usually reply, ‘Well… none.’ You can’t expect to sell what you don’t have. Stock what you want sell and watch your numbers grow.” Dan Wixon, Wixon Jewelers

“Smart takes you only so far. Heart takes you further.” Cheryl Alpert, XIV Karats

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