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First Jewelry to Close; President Will Retire

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(PRESS RELEASE) Toronto, OH – Neil Travis, president of First Jewelry, the exclusive distributor of Persona, has announced his retirement and exit from the jewelry business after a career spanning more than 40 years. The decision comes amid recognizing the rapidly changing marketplace despite the success of the Persona brand.

Known for its selection of sterling silver jewelry, Persona gained success through its portfolio of iconic licenses, e-commerce and retail distribution to become a major force in the silver charm business. Beginning only eight years ago, Persona experienced dramatic growth and expanded from the North American market to become an international brand, carried by over 1,000 retail locations in Canada, the U.S. and the UK.

In recent years, Persona’s brand growth and popularity were driven by unique and iconic licensed collections that gained the attention of consumers worldwide. The strategy proved to be so effective with the exceptional success of the Peanuts by Persona collection that the brand introduced three additional licenses featuring The Beatles, emoji and Coca-Cola — all icons of popular culture for diverse and cross-generational fans to love and collect.

However, these successes were offset by the decision of the brand’s largest retail partner to exit the silver charm business in its mall-based stores, resulting in a dramatic decrease in revenue through the latter of 2017.

“Although the business and positioning strategy was sound and the onboarding of new Persona Partners continued to grow over the past year, after more than 40 years of manufacturing, marketing and merchandising in the jewelry business, it seems like the right time for me to retire”, said Travis.

Though the business has been slated to close on March 30 of this year, Travis also expressed an interest in seeing the Persona brand live on and is currently making every effort to transition the business to another company and/or investor to capitalize on what continues to be viable and a growth opportunity.

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“Any interested parties with jewelry and/or online marketing expertise would be suitable candidates,” Travis said.

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If It’s Time to Consolidate, It’s Time to Call Wilkerson

When Tom Moses decided to close one of the two Moses Jewelers stores in western Pennsylvania, it was time to call in the experts. After reviewing two candidates, Moses, a co-owner of the 72 year-old business, decided to go with Wilkerson. The sale went better than expected. Concerned about running it during the pandemic, Moses says it might have helped the sale. “People wanted to get out, so there was pent-up demand,” he says. “Folks were not traveling so there was disposable income, and we don’t recall a single client commenting to us, feeling uncomfortable. It was busy in here!” And perhaps most importantly, Wilkerson was easy to deal with, he says, and Susan, their personal Wilkerson consultant, was knowledgeable, organized and “really good.” Now, the company can focus on their remaining location — without the hassle of carrying over merchandise that either wouldn’t fit or hadn’t sold. “The decision to hire Wilkerson was a good one,” says Moses.

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