LEVY'S FINE JEWELRY, BIRMINGHAM, AL
Jared Nadler’s typical week — of holding the hands of indecisive customers, shoring up his staff, exchanging faux insults with friends, and appraising estate jewelry — is happily punctuated by supervising the exuberant activities, and nutrition, fashion and transportation needs of his 2-year-old daughter, Marley. He also manages to find time for his wife, Celia, and keeping up with his three older children.
The family business, now celebrating its 86th anniversary with the third and fourth generations, has made Levy’s a regional brand. “Still today, just as Cousin Joe started back in 1922, our customers are our family,” Nadler says. “We know that every customer who walks through our door is as important as the last. That’s why we have such a successful store, repeat business, and so many referrals. As a convenience to our customers we offer full value trade for any piece of jewelry purchased from us. We also offer trade on pieces that did not come from us. We like to refer to ourselves as a recycler, a ‘green jeweler,’ if you will. Many jewelers all over the state refer customers to us because of our reputation for purchasing and liquidating estates.”
MONDAY AUG. 11
5:45 a.m. My wife wakes me up to get moving for the day. I shower and we wake our 2-year-old daughter. She doesn’t want to wear her green sandals with her outfit. My wife and I finally give in and allow her to wear her pink Crocs to school.
7:25 a.m. Before we leave for daycare, we kiss Mommy goodbye. She is on her way to the family courthouse where she represents abused and neglected children.
7:36 a.m. I scan the radio dial for jeweler ads. A new jeweler in Birmingham bashes the competition and claims no jeweler, jewelry store, or website can compete. I laugh to myself and change the station.
8:36 a.m. I arrive at the store six minutes late. I open safes and put out jewelry.
9 a.m. I meet with my floor manager, Brenton, and discuss a new Bufkor order he put together. He needs to make sure the holes on the floor are filled, and he needs to encourage our staff to keep writing thank-you notes. I tell him while they are writing thank-you notes to go ahead and write mine, too.
9:45 a.m. A customer calls and inquires about the cost of a 2-carat emerald-cut diamond. His sister told him he can get a D Flawless for $15,000. I ask him if she got her diamond training from Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
10:45 a.m. I meet with our shop coordinator, because there are too many re-dos and ask him to be harder on the jewelers when it comes to quality control. Everything coming out of the shop needs to be perfect.
10:57 a.m. I give away another repair charge to a good customer. David Geller would be pissed at me.
11:45 a.m. My mom, Rhoda, comes into my office and said she received a letter from the Alabama Retailers Association. We were nominated for “Retailer of the Year.” (Later, we won the bronze award.)
12 p.m. I work with customers on the floor during the busy lunchtime rush.
1:30 p.m. I have a meeting with our newspaper ad rep to plan ads for the next six weeks. We discuss vendor co-ops.
4:05 p.m. Customer who looked at a .84 carat cushion cut, twice, wants to see it again. It’s funny, you have to work harder and make very little money on the smaller deals but the customer is a good kid and I don’t mind.
4:50 p.m. I walk by the shop and it looks like the Three Stooges are playing rugby. (Oh, they must have dropped a stone.)
5:20 p.m. “Cushion Boy” leaves and wants to come back Thursday or Friday.
6:36 p.m. I leave the store to head home. My wife calls and I exaggerate how close I am to being home.
I hope to make up time on the highway.
TUESDAY AUG. 12
9 a.m. Check gold prices.
9:35 a.m. Customer comes in and wants to talk about his engagement being called off. (She has another man.) Do I have his trade-in, and will I buy it back? I explain to him that we can guarantee the ring but not the relationship. I buy it back less a restocking fee. I will try to put my hands on his trade-in. (Actually, it is her ring from a previous one.)
10:11 a.m. Match loose round diamonds for studs.
10:40 a.m. Buy three rings from a customer and talk her into keeping a hideous lapis ring for sentimental reasons.
11:05 a.m. Match up four pairs of studs. Two are beautiful pairs and two are real dogs.
12:40 p.m. Customer comes in and wants to sell a 1.34 emerald-cut. She tells me about all four of her husbands and this was the nicest ring she has ever had. I told her that next time I will make sure she gets an even nicer ring than this one.
2:10 p.m. Talk to friend Ronnie at Universal Diamond in Atlanta. I need two cushion-cut diamonds for Cushion Boy to look at for Thursday.
4:10 p.m. My friend Atul from Genuine Gems calls. He wants to send me goods to buy for stock. I tell him I don’t need any “overpriced, poorly made” goods today. He says a few choice words in Hindi to me and I finally break down and tell him to send the goods in. We laugh. He has been a good friend for over 15 years and gives me nice goods and good prices.
4:20 p.m. Look up Rosetta Stone Language School on the Net. I really want to know what Atul said about me.
5:10 p.m. Customer comes in to replace lost wedding band, finds a Benchmark band similar to the one he lost. He asks if our jewelers can make it look 18 years old. Our jewelers make it look old (with a hammer and file).
5:40 p.m. Uncle Charles comes in and works through our “merchandise purchased” drawer in the safe and starts to make a gold scrap pile. He separates fine estate jewelry from what we send to the refiner.
6:50 p.m. Leave to go home and spend time with my wife and baby.
9 p.m. Review store handbook that hasn’t been updated since 1994.
WEDNESDAY AUG. 13
5:50 a.m. Celia wakes me and we go over our plans for the day. Thursday is my normal day off but I switched with my cousin, because Marley’s daycare is closed today and tomorrow for “teacher’s workday.”
7:15 a.m. I leave the house with Marley to open the store until my cousin, Todd, gets there. He is going to the doctor with his significant other. She is expecting twins in mid-December.
8:30 a.m. Marley and I (sounds like a book, huh?) open up safes and she colors with the crayons at the lunch table. I put out jewelry.
9:30 a.m. Todd comes in from the doctor’s appointment. The twins are boys. I remind him that he will have four kids under the age of 3 when the twins are born. He tells me, “Don’t you think I’ve done the math?” and we start laughing.
11:10 a.m. Grocery store run. I also buy an anniversary card for my wife (only three days late).
1 p.m. Naptime for both of us.
1:46 p.m. Customer calls my cell phone about a diamond. I don’t remember giving him my number.
2:45 p.m. Marley and I head to the park to play.
7 to 8:20 p.m. Celia and I bathe the baby and put her down for the night. Marley said she had a good day. Daddy had a good day, too!
THURSDAY AUG. 14
7:56 a.m. Hear ad for new jewelry store. I turn off the radio. Work out at the gym with trainer, shower and head to the store.
10:15 a.m. I walk the floor with the floor manager and I am impressed with the floor move they did on my day off. Hearts On Fire looks great and Scott Kay gets a more prominent case.
10:30 a.m. Gentleman looking for studs early this week buys the pair of 2.64 carat total weight I matched from loose inventory.
2:50 p.m. Refiner calls and gives the results of the gold we sent overnight — a little disappointing, but right now cash is king.
6:15 p.m. Lock up safes and store and meet my family out for dinner.
10:40 p.m. Write list of things I have to do at work tomorrow.
FRIDAY AUG. 15
8:33 a.m. I open up the store, let staff in and open the safes.
8:40 a.m. My floor manager, Brenton, gives me the “medic report.” It’s Friday and I always have someone out sick.
10:50 a.m. My floor staff has worked hard on displays this week. I walk the floor and it is evident that they put a lot into it.
1:30 p.m. Cushion Boy comes in. I show him the stones, again. He finally makes a decision on the stone and is now having trouble on a mounting. I suggest a beautiful mounting from Scott Kay. He loves it but it is a little out of his budget. We agree to meet on Monday to see what I can find for him. The saga continues.
3 p.m. I leave for the airport to pick up my 20-year-old daughter.
3:40 p.m. We go back to the store. My older kids grew up going to work with me and my staff is excited to see Jen.
4:10 p.m. Celia and Marley surprise Jennifer at the store. When Marley sees Jennifer, it’s like a scene from a movie. Marley runs from the front door of the store to the back with her arms stretched out into Jennifer’s waiting arms.
5:10 p.m. I check in repairs and check e-mails and messages. Three things I really do not like to do but I have to do it anyway.
6:30 p.m. I pick up dinner and spend the evening with all my girls.
SATURDAY AUG. 16
8:45 a.m. A full staff today! No one called out sick on Saturday. It’s going to be a great day. Brenton congratulates key employees who had a very productive week and reads quotes from a book I gave him on business leadership.
9 a.m. Customer comes in to pick up watch, an $11 repair, another freebie repair I should have charged him for. Maybe the free repair will turn into a $5,000 sale at holiday time.
9:20 a.m. Quentin, our part-time runner, cleaner, phone answerer and even salesperson, comes in for a project. We taught him how to separate diamond melee. I use the good, bad and ugly categories (our own system). He does the initial sort and then I sieve and reject. We wholesale out the crap and use the good. He picks up the parcels and goes to an empty desk to sort. Quentin is putting himself through college, and I wish more younger people had his drive and ambition. Levy’s has sort of adopted him, and we all love him and want to see him do well.
12 p.m. I work with a customer who drove from Atlanta to shop with us. She buys a beautiful Richard Landi mounting with a 1.77 carat oval. Nice ring for a nice lady.
3 p.m. Work with Rita on showing cushions and Asschers to a couple who are getting remarried to each other for a third time.
4 p.m. Young couple comes in to thank us for making the ring of her dreams. I tell her it wasn’t me — it was her fiancé who did all the work, I just held his hand through the process. (He was smiling from ear to ear.) This is the best part of the job.
5:40 p.m. Lock up store for the one-day weekend. Race home to spend time with all my girls.