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IJO Concludes Semi-Annual Conference

It was held in Pittsburgh.

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(PRESS RELEASE) SOUTHPORT, CT — The Independent Jewelers Organization (IJO) recently returned from its semi-annual conference, which was held in Pittsburgh, PA. Several changes were announced and implemented and were applauded by the membership.

“We have a very strong and active Board of Directors, made up of store owners as well as our “NextGen” members,” stated IJO president & CEO Jeff Roberts, “and they provide us with feedback from the general membership – and we listen! We’re constantly striving to improve this organization and we’re stronger than we’ve ever been.”

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Members had suggested revamping the format of Sunday morning’s General Session, which always offered an inspirational keynote speaker, and Johnny Cupcakes didn’t disappoint. But change-up they wanted so IJO eliminated several announcements by transferring them to the Saturday breakfast, and brought in comedian Scott Bloom as an Emcee who provided some hilarity and kept the program hopping.

The first announcement Roberts made was a $500 reduction in membership dues, beginning with calendar 2020. “For years we’ve had a co-op program whereby members received $500 at year-end by using the IJO logo and tagline in their advertising,” Roberts stated further. “We realized members are busy and they were leaving money on the table by not submitting for co-op dollars, so we eliminated it.”

A new and very welcome addition was IJO provided snacks in the buying room both mornings and afternoons, plus a sumptuous full lunch for all retailers on Monday. According to Mike Youkilis, Board Rep from Midwest Diamond Distributors, “The IJO show we just finished in Pittsburgh was a huge success in business and the amazing additions of refreshments for all 3 days of the show were fantastic. Coffee and soda and donuts, bagels, cookies, popcorn and chocolate-covered everything, plus very ample passing of gourmet food at the end of the day were great! The free lunch on Monday for all retailers was well received. Of course, the free beer, free wine, and free mixed drinks every day were not so bad either. Like I always say – the family that eats together, stays together.”

“We’ve also created some new partnerships to better serve our members and to make the organization stronger,” Roberts added. “The first is Porte Marketing, who brings over thirty years of marketing experience and a variety of different tools to help them – the independent retailers – become more successful. In addition, I have hired Stephen Barnes from Barnes Jewelers in Goldsboro, NC, as a consultant for IJO. Stephen brings an enthusiastic and passionate attitude to not only help the IJO retailer, but to also help make IJO even better.”

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Rich Bennett from P.K. Bennett Jewelers in Mundelein, Illinois summed it up simply. “We have been members of IJO for the past 10 years. It has been the best business decision we have ever made. The Pittsburgh show was just wow! From the new daily formats and the unbelievable energy in the seminars and buying room it was very evident that IJO has listened to its members and responded in a big way. This is not your father’s organization anymore! “

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Jewelry Store Closing After 45 Years in Business

He said he’ll miss his customers who have become members of his extended family.

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(PRESS RELEASE) JOHNSTOWN, PA – Dennis Petimezas recalls a chance visit to a Gordons Jewelry Store in 1974 for a pen refill. He was told about a job opening and agreed to an interview.

“After a “flukishly” successful interview in Houston, I was hired,” said Petimezas, who quickly rose up the ranks into management where he opened and supervised stores in the northeast.

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He decided to branch off on his own, buying Watchmakers Shop in 1975 and renaming it Watchmaker’s Diamonds and Jewelry. Despite no signs the business is slowing down, Petimezas said he’s taking a cue from legends including Johnny Carson, Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld in deciding to retire this year.

“You go out while you’re on top,” said Petimezas, whose store has received a dozen business recognition awards over the years. “It’s 45 a wonderful years – I’m blessed with a booming economy and a positive business trajectory.”

Large Sale in the Works

Shoppers looking for bargains on high-quality jewelry should mark November 7th on their calendars. That’s when Watchmaker’s Diamonds and Jewelry will start a huge store-wide retirement sale. Expect to find special deals on jewelry- including engagement rings, anniversary bands, gemstones and estate jewelry.

Interested in Jewelry at an Early Age

Petimezas recalls going to an F.W. Woolworth department store at age 5 in 1955 and buying a 25-cent pair of plastic rose earrings for his mother’s birthday.

“She still has them today and continues to wear them for special occasions,” he said of his mother May, who is 100 years old.

As a child, he always had an interest in plastic rings and jewelry and also collected rocks when he was young. He would later embark on a career where certain kinds of rocks¬–the ones that have diamonds–are prized, and his journeys for them took him to 4 continents.

Building a Career That Values Customers

As an adult just starting out in the business, a meeting in 1974 with the late Harry B. Gordon, son of the founder of Gordon’s Jewelers, would leave a lasting impression.

“He said ‘jewelry is the only thing you can give that conveys an emotion, you can wear it and it has continuing value.’ Think about the last gift you received that hit all those key values.”

Petimezas was also struck by Gordon’s affable, unassuming demeanor. At one point Gordon told him he could sit in his chair and put his feet up on his desk during some light-hearted banter in his office.

“I was so impressed by him,” Petimezas said. Petimezas himself would devote his career to providing excellent customer service with a smile, and treating everyone with respect no matter their station in life.

“A boy who’s 16 or 17 years old and wants to get his prom date something, well that’s the most important piece of jewelry in the world to him,” he said. “To somebody who is celebrating his 60th anniversary and has an unlimited budget, that’s an important piece of jewelry for him as well. At my store, my staff and I are going to give them the same level of friendly, quality customer service.”

Fostering a warm and inviting atmosphere has helped Petimezas and his devoted staff develop a growing pool of loyal customers.

“The staff–my business partners as I call them–have been with me for 25 and 30 years with some even longer,” he said. “It’s the same faces, the same people, and customers love that. And I think what people who have never bought here will find is a wealth of experience and people who enjoy what they’re doing because that’s all they’ve done for their entire career.”

Thanks to a steadily growing number of customers, Watchmaker’s Diamonds and Jewelry was running out of space. In 2002, Petimezas relocated from The Galleria Mall to its current location on Scalp Avenue: A free-standing commercial building that’s triple in size.

Giving Back

Petimezas has given to a variety of causes over the years, including contributing toward Reverend Sam Childers’ work with orphans in the Sudan. He’s struck up friendship with the former gang biker, otherwise known as the “machine gun preacher.” A movie about his life was made in 2011.

“He does a lot of good work in the Sudan resisting the insurgents, building orphanages, and rescuing children conscripted into the rebel army” he said. “I try to help when I can, and plan to visit him there after this last Christmas season”.

Setting a New Chapter in His Life

Petimezas is exploring his options in retirement while his wife Dee Dee, who he met in 1996 plans to continue operating her beauty salon and enjoying their two children, a safety engineer and an RN emergency room nurse.

“This has been a great year,” “I turned 69 this year, and it was time to execute a plan we had in the works for several years. Go out while you’re on top and pursue whatever endeavors are there”.

He said he’ll miss his customers who have become members of his extended family.

“I’m grateful to the entire community of Johnstown whose support has made our success possible,” he said. “And a great thanks to my loyal and dedicated staff for their long tenures and hard work which made everything happen. They became part of my family.”

Want to go?

  • What: Watchmaker’s Diamonds & Jewelry Retirement Sale
  • When: Begins November 7th, 2019
  • Where: 1252 Scalp Ave., Suite 2, Johnstown, Pa. 15904
  • Store hours: 10am. to 6:00pm. Monday through Saturday. After Thanksgiving open Sundays too, 12 to 5pm.
  • More info.: Visit mywatchmakers.com, call 814-266-9653 or email mywatchmakers@gmail.com Follow on Facebook
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Press Releases

Take the Risk Out of Buying Diamonds and Finished Jewelry for Stock with GN Diamond’s 100% Guarantee

Stores that buy for stock sell 60% more than stores who do not.

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(PRESS RELEASE) Welcome to GN Diamond’s new 100% guarantee when buying diamonds and finished jewelry for stock. GN Diamond recognizes that retailers may sometimes be reluctant to buy loose diamonds for stock. Why buy when I can get diamonds on memo? While this may be true, it is also true that 80% of end consumers want to buy diamonds and diamond jewelry the same day they shop. It is also said that sometimes the diamonds that are left on long term memo may not always be fast sellers nor the cream of the crop. It is, therefore, critical that retailers make sure all of their “bread and butter” holes are filled in especially during the holiday season. With GN Diamond’s new 100% trade in policy customers may now feel comfortable buying diamonds for stock – if any do not sell they be switched out for other diamonds that may have a higher turnover percentage. The same holds true for finished jewelry.

Visit them 24/7 at www.gndiamond.com. Email at sales@gndiamond.com or call at (800) 724-8810. They are open 7 days a week with free shipping.

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Press Releases

PT NEXT Acquires Software Company CodeNameWhat

Acquisition advances PT Next’s development of industry-specific technology solutions.

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(PRESS RELEASE) PT NEXT, the technology arm of Pac Team Group, has announced the acquisition of software development company, CodeNameWhat. Founded by RFID software veteran Peter Shoemaker, CodeNameWhat worked with PT NEXT on the development of ARGOS, their RFID-based platform for the jewelry and timepiece industry. Shoemaker will continue advancing this platform in his new role as PT NEXT’s director of software engineering.

“We started CodeNameWhat to follow a shared passion for how inventory visibility will transform the retail experience,” said Shoemaker. “Now joining PT NEXT, we add our passion to a team that is transforming an industry.”

As the leading authority in technology innovation and IoT technology for the watch and jewelry industry, PT NEXT has developed proven turnkey solutions designed to elevate the in-store customer experience, increase operating efficiency and overall profitability.

“With the acquisition of CodeNameWhat, PT NEXT can continue to lead the design, development and implementation of cutting-edge technology solutions that are specifically designed to address our customer’s retail challenges in the jewelry and timepiece industry,” said Eric Zuckerman, president of Pac Team Group.

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