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Commentary: The Business

Illinois Store Owner Talks Christmas COVID Bingo, Funny Customer Questions and a Record-Breaking December

She also relates two heart-warming client stories.




“Our last full working day of the season is Christmas Pajama Day. I buy super soft jammies for my staff every year. If we hit our store and personal sales goals along with delivering all custom items, we close Christmas Eve, which is a huge incentive to get the job done.” — Denise Oros

I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT 2020, the crummiest year on record, yielded our very best December ever! Breaking records and achieving our personal best was a well-deserved victory for my team.

This year, working on a Christmas Bingo Card was full-on fun. Thank you, Jewelers Helping Jewelers, for the inspiration. Here are just a few of the squares we filled:

  • Changing watch batteries in nasty, germ-ridden watches.
  • A customer tracking up the whole floor only to buy silver earrings.
  • A man buying for his wife and girlfriend.
  • A finger-licker.
  • Finding old earring holes.
  • Customer: “Could you just polish these? I’m giving them as gifts” and “Could you wrap her other gift in the Linnea paper too?” Oh sure, I can polish these for you while you look around for something sparkly to add to your wish list. But we do not give our boxes out unless the items were purchased here, I’m sure you understand????
  • Customer: “I recall that this rebuild/repair/custom job was estimated cheaper!”
  • Customer: “I need my finger sized for a ring I bought on the internet.”

But there were feel-good stories, too:

One of my best customers succumbed to cancer in November. On her death bed, she told her daughters to tell me, “I love her and she always brought me so much joy.” The daughters came in right before Christmas with their mom’s signature, which we incorporated into gold rings. When they picked the rings up, there were laughter, tears and joy.

Second story: Customer had emergency heart surgery for a rare affliction. Once the family was notified that he was probably going to die, they gathered around his bed, held hands with him and prayed. Against all odds, he recovered fully. The family saved the seven wires that had held his chest together and brought them to me to make into a cross. It took weeks to come up with a plan: I had limited material and I had to create it, then wrap it in a border of white gold and laser it in place.

There is a joy, a peacefulness and a satisfaction that’s difficult to put into words, but every goldsmith knows that feeling.


We are part of an amazing industry that shares the most intimate life moments with our customers.

Denise Oros owns Linnea Jewelers in La Grange, IL.



Wilkerson Testimonials | Sollberger’s

Going Out of Business Is an Emotional Journey. Wilkerson Is There to Make It Easier.

Jaki Cowan, the owner of Sollberger’s in Ridgeland, MS, decided the time was right to close up shop. The experience, she says, was like going into the great unknown. There were so many questions about the way to handle the store’s going-out-of-business sale. Luckily for Cowan, Wilkerson made the transition easier and managed everything, from marketing to markdowns.

“They think of everything that you don’t have the time to think of,” she says of the Wilkerson team that was assigned to manage the sale. And it was a total success, with financial goals met by Christmas with another sale month left to go.

Wilkerson even had a plan to manage things while Covid-19 restrictions were still in place. This included limiting the number of shoppers, masking and taking temperatures upon entrance. “We did everything we could to make the staff and public feel as safe as possible.”

Does she recommend Wilkerson to other retailers thinking of retiring, liquidating or selling excess merchandise? Absolutely. “If you are considering going out of business, it’s obviously an emotional journey. But truly rest assured that you’re in good hands with Wilkerson.”

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