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Maryland Jeweler Saw the ‘Writing on the Wall’ … and More Jewelers Who Closed in June

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SAM FRIBUSH of Berman’s Jewelers in Ellicott, MD, had worked in the business for 54 years and never thought of it as a job — until recently.

“I was taking the long way to work, driving slow, and when I start doing that, the writing’s on the wall,” he told the Baltimore Sun.

He knew it was time to retire.

Berman’s was one of 58 jewelry businesses that the Jewelers Board of Trade listed among industry discontinuances and consolidations for June. INSTORE has partnered with JBT to provide a closer look at closings in the jewelry industry via monthly reports that lists closed stores by name. (Note: JBT explains that “consolidation,” as used below, can mean a merger between two affiliate [same owners] companies that had separate corporate charters or the sale of a company to a new owner.)

Evolving consumer habits, the rising popularity of e-commerce and other trends have contributed to jewelry-store closings in recent years. JBT reported earlier this month that 195 U.S. jewelry retailers closed their doors in the second quarter of 2018. That number represented no change from the number of closings in the second quarter of 2017.

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In sunnier news, JBT reported that 63 new retailers opened their doors in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2018, up from 22 in the same quarter a year prior.

Fribush, for one, said his customer base had decreased over the past decade, with younger customers increasingly purchasing online — or not at all.

In the case of another store owner on the list, however, the decision to shut down was less about consumer trends and more about a specific calamity. The owner, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a bookkeeper defrauded the business of between $100,000 and $400,000.

He couldn’t sustain the loss, so he closed the store. He’s awaiting — or at least hoping for — an indictment of the former employee.

He’s now starting a smaller, appointment-only jewelry business.

“It’s a real challenge to start over after all these years,” he said.

(Editor’s comment: This monthly department is designed to share the many lessons — and many motivations — of jewelers who have decided not to continue with their retail business. The goal is not to inspire fear, but rather to inspire action for jewelers who are looking for ways to thrive in what can be a challenging retail environment.)

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V V S D Jewelers, Inc., d/b/a Fast Fix Jewelry & Watch Repairs, Palmdale, CA, consolidation

Phillips Jewelry, Mapleton, IA, discontinuance

Jewelers Workbench And Watch Repair, North Attleboro, MA, consolidation

Anderson, James L. Jeweler, Inc., d/b/a Morgan’s Jewelers, Winona, MN consolidation

Imam Management Inc., d/b/a Carolina Jewelers, Pineville, NC, consolidation

Watertown Gold and Trade LLC, Watertown, WI, consolidation

Chatelaine’s Ltd., Lewes, DE, discontinuance

Gregory James Jewelry, LLC, Palm Beach, FL, discontinuance

Christopher Charles Fine Jewelry Corp., Haddon Township, NJ, discontinuance

Eugene P, Inc., d/b/a 24 Diamonds, New York, NY, discontinuance

Mastercraft Jewelers, Dewey, OK, discontinuance

Carly M. Fine Jewelry, LLC, Sewickley, PA, discontinuance

Stoeckel, George R. Jewelers, Stroudsburg, PA, discontinuance

Precious Jewelry, Inc., Miami, FL, consolidation

Adrene Jewelers, South Yarmouth, MA, consolidation

J.L.C. Jewelers Ltd., d/b/a Cellini Jewelers, New York, NY, consolidation

Lester Martin Jewelers, Inc., d/b/a Lester Martin Co., Dresher, PA, discontinuance

Classic Estate Jewelry, LLC, Lancaster, PA, consolidation

Root’s Rocks, Inc., d/b/a C. Kirk Root Designs, Austin, TX, consolidation

Jewels By G. Darrell Olson, Inc., d/b/a Jewels & Estate Gallery, Phoenix, AZ, discontinuance

Strausberg Bros Inc., d/b/a Strausberg Bros USA, San Diego, CA, discontinuance

Time Sales, Inc., d/b/a Tourneau TSS, Cabazon, CA, discontinuance

Henry Diamond Co., Los Angeles, CA, discontinuance

Childs, Ashley, Los Angeles, CA, discontinuance

DS Jewelry, Port Richey, FL, discontinuance

Chicago Diamond Industries, (Inc.), d/b/a C. D. I., Chicago, IL, discontinuance

Christopher Allan Jeweler LLC, South Bend, IN, discontinuance

Queena Jewelers, LLC, d/b/a Queena Jewelers Mfg Co., Novi, MI, discontinuance

Nick’s, West Plains, MO, discontinuance

Skillin’s Jewelers, Inc., Norwich, NY, discontinuance

Barato Trading Corporation, d/b/a Barato Watches, New York, NY, discontinuance

Sam Taylor Fine Jewelry LLC, Ashland, OH, discontinuance

David Anthony Jewelry Inc., New Lenox, IL, consolidation

Lawrence Jewelers, Inc., Fort Gratiot, MI, consolidation

Euphoria New York, L.L.C., Englewood, NJ, consolidation

Shun Xing Fine Jewelry Inc., New York, NY, consolidation

U.S. Capital Corporation, d/b/a Retail Store Services, Hollywood, FL, discontinuance

Little King’s Jewelry, Beecher, IL, discontinuance

It’s About Time Flamingo, (LLC), Las Vegas, NV, discontinuance

Digital World, (LLC), Las Vegas, NV, discontinuance

Sterling Possessions LLC, d/b/a Thistle & Bee, New York, NY, discontinuance

Nick’s Pawn & Jewelry, L.L.C., Lawton, OK, discontinuance

Lee, Jerry D., Inc d/b/a Ye Olde Clock Shop, League City, TX, discontinuance

Roman Jewelers, Inc., Flemington, NJ, consolidation

Aqua Master Enterprise Inc., New York, NY, consolidation

H.J.C. (Inc.), d/b/a Arkansas Cash For Gold, Maumelle, AR, discontinuance

Special Sales Company, d/b/a Berman’s Jewelers, Ellicott City, MD, discontinuance

Belle Jewelers LLC, Egg Harbor Township, NJ, discontinuance

Ava Accessories LLC, d/b/a Ava Sterling, Albuquerque, NM, discontinuance

Gold Rush Jewelers, Trotwood, OH, discontinuance

Jane’s, Inc., d/b/a Jane’s Fine Jewelry, Chattanooga, TN, discontinuance

Gold Creations, Inc., d/b/a Fulwiler Jewelers, Abilene, TX, discontinuance

Wendell Setterberg, Inc., d/b/a Setterberg Jewelers, Sun City, AZ, consolidation

O’Halloran Manufacturing Jewelry Co., Ltd, Baton Rogue, LA, consolidation

Bulova (Division of Citizen Watch Company of America, Inc.), New York, NY, consolidation

Luca + Danni, LLC, Cranston, RI, consolidation

Forbes Jewelers, Wadesboro, NC, discontinuance

Nippert Jewelers, LLC, Cincinnati, OH, discontinuance

 

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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Jewelry Brand Opens 2 Brick-and-Mortar Stores Following $13M Investment Round

They’re located in New York.

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AUrate, a New York based direct-to-consumer fine jewelry brand, plans to use part of the $13 million that it recently raised to build a brick-and-mortar presence.

The company is opening two permanent stores in New York City, Women’s Wear Daily reports. They’ll be located in SoHo and on Madison Avenue.

They’ll “feature experiential technology that introduces consumers to the raw materials and production methods enlisted to create Aurate jewelry,” according to the report.

They were set to open Oct. 12.

AUrate announced in late June that it had completed a $13 million investment round. With the Series A funding, led by Michael Platt of BlueCrest Capital, the company said it planned to expand its online and offline operations and direct investment in technology. Additional participants included Point King Capital, Arab Angel Fund and Drake Management.

AUrate soft-launched in 2015, when co-founders Bouchra Ezzahraoui and Sophie Kahn held full-time jobs at Goldman Sachs & Marc Jacobs, respectively.

The brand was officially launched in 2017, with both online and offline stores. The co-founders went on to raise $2.6M in a seed round.

Read more at Women’s Wear Daily

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De Beers Lab-Grown Diamonds to Make Brick-and-Mortar Debut

It’s a test run that will begin this month.

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Lab-grown diamonds from De Beers-owned Lightbox will soon be available at certain Bloomingdale’s and Reeds Jewelers stores.

It’s a test run that will begin this month, Forbes reports. The effort marks Lightbox’s brick-and-mortar debut.

Lightbox pieces are lab-grown diamonds set in accessibly priced fashion jewelry. They’ve been sold since September 2018 online and in pop-up shops.

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The pieces will be sold at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street flagship in New York and its San Francisco location store. And they’ll be available at 30 Reeds Jewelers, primarily in the Southeast, Forbes reports.

The trial is expected to last as long as six months.

Lightbox debuted in 2018 with products priced from $200 for a quarter-carat stone to $800 for a one-carat stone. It started with pink, blue and white lab-grown diamonds in a selection of earring and necklace designs, and the company later said it was expanding the line with bracelets and stackable rings.

Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers, said last year that Lightbox would “transform the lab-grown diamond sector by offering consumers a lab-grown product they have told us they want but aren’t getting: affordable fashion jewelry that may not be forever, but is perfect for right now.”

The move to brick-and-mortar is no surprise. Lightbox Managing Director Steve Coe announced at the JCK Las Vegas show in June that he expected to begin market testing the brand in retail stores this year. After the company’s $94 million plant in Gresham, OR, goes online in 2020, production will increase and the brand will be offered to a broad range of retailers by 2021. Color offerings and jewelry-design styles will likely be expanded as well.

Coe said consumer research has backed up the De Beers belief that laboratory-grown diamonds work best as fashion accessories for everyday wear, and not for significant occasions, such as engagement, for which consumers say they prefer natural diamonds.

Read more at Forbes

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350 Jobs at Risk as British Jewelry Brand Enters Administration

It’s been dealing with ‘difficult trading conditions.’

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British jewelry brand Links of London has named Deloitte as administrator, Reuters reported.

“The Company has had to contend with difficult trading conditions that have impacted the whole retail sector,” joint administrator Matt Smith was quoted saying in a statement.

Deloitte has not announced job cuts, but 350 positions could be at risk, according to Reuters.

The administrator plans to continue operating Links of London, which belongs to Greek jewelry firm Folli Follie, and look at the possibility of selling the company.

Links of London sells through outlets in Europe, the U.S., Asia and online. Among its products are jewelry, watches and cufflinks.

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Currently on its website, Links of London states: “Following the appointment of the Joint Administrators, the Company’s website has unfortunately been temporarily suspended until further notice and therefore is unable to process any online sales.”

The site advises visitors to go to their local Links of London store.

Read more at Reuters

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