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J. Shea Jewelers

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ABILENE, TX

J. Shea Jewelers

[dropcap cap=P]roblems don’t seem to exist in the world of 31-year-old Jeremy Shea Leech. Only opportunities. Whether it’s the recession, gold’s inflationary spiral, his youthful looks (great for marketing CAD/CAM) or his total lack of experience, connections and capital when he started, everything has a plus side if you only look hard enough. “If it wasn’t for my naiveté I might never have done this,” he explains. [/dropcap]

CUSTOMERS EVERYWHERE: Of all the “challenges,” his approach to competition might seem the hardest to understand. Open a jewelry business in Abilene and Leech is likely to be at your doorstop with a warm welcome and a business card. The approach has seen him pick up watch-battery customers from Walmart (which won’t service customers who bought their watch elsewhere), custom-job clients from James Avery who can’t wait for its six-week turnaround time and work from pawn shops, which often need repairs or appraisals.

10,000 CLIENTS: By beating the sidewalk, keeping an open mind and following up on every first-time customer with a card or phone call, Leech has built up a database of 10,000 clients in a little over 10 years. “Come in the store a customer and leave a friend. That’s my goal.”

PERSONALITY: It’s a personality-centered approach that’s driven impressive growth. Since it opened in 1999, his store has enjoyed average annual sales growth of 17 percent a year, even during the recession. This year, from a bigger base, he expects to grow 15 percent to $450,000. “Business comes down to people skills and breaking down barriers,” says Leech, who keeps in touch with his customers through events such as barbecues and phone chats.

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COLUMN: The single biggest customer builder, however, has been a column he writes in the local paper. “It has nothing to do with the business. Just some life lessons. I’ve written about my grandmother’s death, when I was robbed. I let people know I am a human, that we all have our crosses to bear. It’s amazing how many customers have come in the door because of something they read.”

[span class=note]This story is from the October 2010 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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Celebrate Your Retirement with Wilkerson

For nearly three decades, Suzanne and Tom Arnold ran a successful business at Facets Fine Jewelry in Arlington, Va. But the time came when the Arnolds wanted to do some of the things you put off while you’ve got a business to run. “We decided it was time to retire,” says Suzanne, who claims the couple knew how to open a store, how to run a store but “didn’t know how to close a store.” So, they hired Wilkerson to do it for them. When she called, Suzanne says Wilkerson offered every option for the sale she could have hoped for. Better still, “the sale exceeded our financial goals like crazy,” she says. And customers came, not only to take advantage of the going-out-of-business buys and mark-downs, but to wish a bon voyage to the beloved proprietors of a neighborhood institution. “People were celebrating our retirement, and that was so special,” says says.

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J. Shea Jewelers

Published

on

ABILENE, TX

J. Shea Jewelers

[dropcap cap=P]roblems don’t seem to exist in the world of 31-year-old Jeremy Shea Leech. Only opportunities. Whether it’s the recession, gold’s inflationary spiral, his youthful looks (great for marketing CAD/CAM) or his total lack of experience, connections and capital when he started, everything has a plus side if you only look hard enough. “If it wasn’t for my naiveté I might never have done this,” he explains. [/dropcap]

CUSTOMERS EVERYWHERE: Of all the “challenges,” his approach to competition might seem the hardest to understand. Open a jewelry business in Abilene and Leech is likely to be at your doorstop with a warm welcome and a business card. The approach has seen him pick up watch-battery customers from Walmart (which won’t service customers who bought their watch elsewhere), custom-job clients from James Avery who can’t wait for its six-week turnaround time and work from pawn shops, which often need repairs or appraisals.

10,000 CLIENTS: By beating the sidewalk, keeping an open mind and following up on every first-time customer with a card or phone call, Leech has built up a database of 10,000 clients in a little over 10 years. “Come in the store a customer and leave a friend. That’s my goal.”

Advertisement

PERSONALITY: It’s a personality-centered approach that’s driven impressive growth. Since it opened in 1999, his store has enjoyed average annual sales growth of 17 percent a year, even during the recession. This year, from a bigger base, he expects to grow 15 percent to $450,000. “Business comes down to people skills and breaking down barriers,” says Leech, who keeps in touch with his customers through events such as barbecues and phone chats.

COLUMN: The single biggest customer builder, however, has been a column he writes in the local paper. “It has nothing to do with the business. Just some life lessons. I’ve written about my grandmother’s death, when I was robbed. I let people know I am a human, that we all have our crosses to bear. It’s amazing how many customers have come in the door because of something they read.”

[span class=note]This story is from the October 2010 edition of INSTORE[/span]

Advertisement

SPONSORED VIDEO

Celebrate Your Retirement with Wilkerson

For nearly three decades, Suzanne and Tom Arnold ran a successful business at Facets Fine Jewelry in Arlington, Va. But the time came when the Arnolds wanted to do some of the things you put off while you’ve got a business to run. “We decided it was time to retire,” says Suzanne, who claims the couple knew how to open a store, how to run a store but “didn’t know how to close a store.” So, they hired Wilkerson to do it for them. When she called, Suzanne says Wilkerson offered every option for the sale she could have hoped for. Better still, “the sale exceeded our financial goals like crazy,” she says. And customers came, not only to take advantage of the going-out-of-business buys and mark-downs, but to wish a bon voyage to the beloved proprietors of a neighborhood institution. “People were celebrating our retirement, and that was so special,” says says.

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