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IJO Members Go ‘Back to College’

It’s a two-day intensive evaluation of a member’s retail jewelry business.

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(PRESS RELEASE) SOUTHPORT, CT — Five IJO member stores recently returned from a session of the “IJO Business College”, held at the headquarters of the Independent Jewelers Organization (IJO) in Southport, Connecticut. The Business College is a benefit of IJO membership which offers a two-day intensive evaluation of a member’s retail jewelry business with recommendations on how to operate more efficiently – and more profitably.

“So many store owners know all there is to know about jewelry,” states IJO President and CEO Jeff Roberts, “but they may not necessarily know how to operate a business, which is equally as important as jewelry knowledge. We offer this service free of charge to our members – our job is to make a difference in the lives of everyone in the IJO family.”

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In attendance were Ronny & Tonjia Lysenby from Bradshaw’s Jewelers in Dothan, AL, Luke Moorman from Carroll’s Jewelers in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Kristin & Dan Widmar from Rasmussen Diamonds in Racine, WI, Theresa & Brian McLean from Simone’s Jewelry in Shrewsbury, NJ, and Missy Emrich from Steve’s Custom Jewelers in Union City, TN.

According to Emrich, “Jeff, along with Chip Terry, examined our financial statements, photos of our store, info on our employees and inventory, and broke down exactly how we’re operating. Just that, in itself, was a learning experience! But then they gave us information on what steps we can take to build our business and maximize customer service. It was truly in-depth and extremely detailed, and it was also eye-opening!”

Brian McLean added, “We’re so glad we did this – since we joined IJO less than two years ago we’ve been taking advantage of all they offer, and this was way beyond our expectations. We also learned so much just from going through this process with the others – our new friends.”

The Business College is held semi-annually, in May and November, and all IJO members have the opportunity to participate. “We had a full house plus a waiting list – we can take a maximum of five stores per session,” says Penny Palmer, IJO’s Director of Member Services, “and this service has changed hundreds of lives over the years. We love having ‘company’, but mostly we love hearing the results after our members make a few changes from what they’ve learned!”

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Alex and Gladys Rysman are the third generation to run Romm Jewelers in Brockton, Mass. And after many decades of service to the industry and their community, it was time to close the store and take advantage of some downtime. With three grown children who each had their own careers outside of the industry, they decided to call Wilkerson. Then, the Rysmans did what every jeweler should do: They called other retailers and asked about their own Wilkerson experience. “They all told us what a great experience it was and that’s what made us go with Wilkerson.” says Gladys Rysman. The results? Alex Rysman says he was impressed. “We exceeded whatever I expected to do by a large margin.”

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