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IJO Names President

Owner and Chairman Jeff Roberts made the announcement at IJO’s recent conference in Cleveland.




The Independent Jewelers Organization has named Stephen Barnes as its president.

Owner and Chairman Jeff Roberts made the announcement at IJO’s recent conference in Cleveland.

IJO Names President

Stephen Barnes

“For several years I have met with, interviewed and talked with several candidates for this position I wanted to fill, but no one possessed the qualities I was seeking – until recently,” Roberts said. “I was looking for some new blood to help drive IJO farther.

“Stephen is a bright, smart and passionate individual with experience in running a successful and profitable retail jewelry store. His added expertise in succession and transition planning only adds to his long list of qualifications, and I have no doubt he will help make IJO a better, stronger, and even more successful organization.”

The announcement was met with a standing ovation by the more than 1,000 members present.

Barnes said: “I’m so very fortunate to have had IJO as part of my life for nearly 25 years, and I have met so many amazing people along the way that have mentored, coached, and guided me into who I am today. I owe a great deal of gratitude to all of you in this organization for pouring into me over these years. Through every step of my journey I can see how it has prepared me for such a time as this. And I humbly thank Jeff for this opportunity.”

More from the release:

From among the many congratulatory posts, “Well deserved Stephen. Your time with the Edge Retail Academy, your amazing work ethic, faultless integrity and honesty, commitment to your goals, industry knowledge and your powerful desire to make a positive difference to this wonderful industry and your wonderful people skills, make you the perfect person for this exciting new opportunity. I’m proud to have worked with you and look forward to many more years of our friendship to come. Well done and huge congratulations,” wrote David Brown, Owner/President, Edge Retail Academy

Punchmark CEO Ross Cockerham wrote, “Huge congratulations to Stephen Barnes, the new president of IJO! In 2009, Stephen became one of our very first clients by purchasing a jewelry website before we had ever built one. This took an incredible amount of faith, and this same level of faith will prove to be an enormous strength that will surely make him an exceptional president and help this organization to continue being so great.”

And on a personal note, son Preston wrote, “Want to give a huge congratulations to my Dad, Stephen Barnes! Dreams are being fulfilled and his hard work paying off. I’m a proud son!”

Barnes added, “The vision of IJO is to enhance the lives of its members through the power of unity. Our goal is to grow stronger together and further solidify the integrity of our industry. Just some of my responsibilities will be to revamp our educational programs, expand the IJO TEAMS, increase the opportunities for the Next Generation group, improve IJO’s technology resources, increase marketing and advertising resources, create an increased program for succession and store transition, and to provide family friendly shows. IJO is a family that cares about each other, and I’m grateful for this opportunity to help make IJO even stronger for each and every member.”

Stephen Barnes can be reached at IJO headquarters at 800.624.9252, Ext. 118, or




When the Kids Have Their Own Careers, Wilkerson Can Help You to Retire

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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