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Jeweler Makes Thoroughly Convincing Case for Brick-and-Mortar Retail

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It’s the small businesses that make a community.

[Editor’s note: This letter is a submission from Marc Majors of Sam L. Majors in Midland, TX.]

For years now we’ve been hearing about the rise of online shopping with consumerism turning toward the internet and how it’s going to negatively affect brick-and-mortar retailers. I honestly took little warning and didn’t put a whole lot of thought into it until 2017.

I’ve watched the trend get worse and worse but now it’s a two-headed monster and I have no idea how to slay it. With tremendous discounts and deals given and the promise to deliver in two days, it seems like this has appealed to people more than running down to your local retailer and buying what you need. Do people really think it’s more convenient to have something delivered to your doorstep than driving down the street? Have people been consumed with shopping for a price instead of a piece? Would you rather put something in your “shopping cart,” type in your credit card info and shipping address and hit “confirm”? Where is the pride in that?

There is none.

Look, I get it, some things you just can’t get locally, especially in smaller towns. I’m understanding of that. But if there is a nice store in your community that provides good products and services then why wouldn’t you buy locally?

Obviously, I’m a big fan of buying locally because I’m in retail, too, but what people don’t realize is that it’s the small businesses that build and make a community. And when you take your money elsewhere, like the internet, you are doing a disservice to your local community. You’re giving your business to an online retailer who could care less about who you are, what you’re about and your family. They don’t care if you come back or not. They have your money and they are done with you until you make another purchase from them.

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As a local retailer, I see you at restaurants, church and the grocery store. Our kids play together, they go to school together, we coach teams together, etc. Now why wouldn’t you want to support someone you know so well?

Take pride in what your community offers! Take pride in knowing that you’re supporting someone who turns around and supports the community. Take pride in knowing you bought a quality product from a local merchant who can answer any questions and take care of any customer service issues immediately.

Isn’t it more exciting to go shopping, talk directly to a human being, pick out exactly what you want, try it on if needed and walk out with your new purchase? Sure it is!


This piece is an INSTORE Online extra.

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Holiday Readiness, Lab-Grown Pricing and More of Your Letters

One reader says dealers need to chill out.

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Are You Ready For The Holidays?

  • Been ready. Need to salvage the year. Too much good merch sitting around. Need to close everybody. — Rick Nichols, Nassau Jewelry, Fernandina Beach, FL
  • Hoping for a real Christmas. The past years have been way more independent purchasing, with less intense holiday shopping. — Kelli Reinbold, Vernon Jewelers, Salina, KS
  • More than ever, we must be mindful of overbuying. It’s a very good idea to work out special memos with existing vendors, or at least very liberal stock balancing not necessarily tied to additional purchases. Small brick-and-mortar stores that pay their bills are in demand! — J. Dennis Petimezas, Watchmakers Diamonds & Jewelry, Johnstown, PA
  • 52nd Christmas in the trade. If I’m not ready now, I never will be. — Ira Kramer, The Diamond Exchange Of Maryland, Rockville, MD
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Time for an Adjustment

  • Can’t wait for lab-grown diamond prices to fall down to lab ruby, sapphire and emerald prices so we can stop the charade of having to explain the difference to consumers and why they are paying so much for a lab-grown diamond now. — Robert Borneman, Diamond Jewelers, Centereach, NY

Politics Shmolitics

  • Stop obsessing over politics and focus on our businesses. We can’t use the political climate as excuses for our shortcomings. In any time, some stores are thriving and others are dying. We control our own destinies. — Robert Mullen, Mullen Bros. Jewelers, Swanswa, MA

Break from the Norm

  • I always look forward to each month’s magazine. It’s a nice break from the store and news. Thanks, INSTORE! Tommy Thobe, The Village Gem, Perry Hall, MD
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Fire Drill Feedback, Case Cleaning Results and More of Your Letters

One jeweler got taken for a ride by a client.

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Firing Clarified

The questions asked in your “Fire Drill” section are all isolated circumstances. Generally, if someone is doing wrong in one area, chances are they are up to no good elsewhere. In all situations, you need all of the evidence to terminate. Any of those could be the final excuse to take action, but alone, a termination could create even bigger problems. — Jon Walp, Long Jewelers, Virginia Beach, VA

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Case Cleaned

I actually took the advice of columnist Sherry Smith and “cleaned up my jammed case” today and wow! What a difference it made to back-stock many of our alloy samples! — Jane Johnson, RM Johnson & Sons, Salem, VA

Ring Regrets

I learned a lesson the very hard and expensive way and it sucks because now I don’t trust anyone. I had a customer come in several times to look at diamonds, and when he finally picked one out, he sent his girlfriend in to stamp her seal of approval. We then had a custom ring designed through CAD, which they both loved, and he told me, “We must proceed.” I always take down payments on custom jobs, but this guy was out of town a lot for work and wouldn’t be back for weeks, and he also made it clear he wanted this done ASAP. I went ahead and approved the job, trusting his word that he’d be in within two weeks to pay for it. Well … the ring is ready and he says he’s not picking up until mid-October now. I told him that’s not how I usually do business on custom jobs and that I needed a down payment from him. He got angry and went radio silent for a week. He did call last week to find a solution to the problem after I sent him a lengthy email on why I am confused and disappointed with his approach to the custom-made ring for him. I missed his call and now have called him back twice with no answer and no call back. Guess this beautiful custom-made ring will go out in my showcase and find a new home with someone else. I also had no intentions of spending that kind of money on a project for stock. Live and you learn. — Marc Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX

Safety First

Regardless of how you feel about the gun issue, the debate certainly does not help the jewelry business. After all, in order for people to buy and wear jewelry, they need to feel safe in doing so. I would urge our industry to be cautious about working to make people feel safe if they care about the business. Sometimes difficult since some feel safe around guns and others don’t, but either way, it affects our retail sales. — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA

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Readers’ Thoughts on America’s Coolest Stores and More Letters to the Editor

Most love it, but one said “cool smool.”

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On “America’s Coolest Stores”

  • Just love seeing the photos and hearing about the originality of each store. It shows that there are so many different ways to run a store. Stay true to yourself and your visions. — Robin Lies, Burnell’s Creative Gold, Wichita, KS
  • Love seeing the Cool Stores for inspiration. — Annette Kinzie, Leonard Jewelry, Stillwater, OK
  • I have two stores in Southern California. I love them both. They are each unique. I would, however, happily trade them both for one really cool store. I’ll keep you posted. — Chad Elliott Coogan, Gems Of La Costa, Carlsbad, CA
  • Jewelry is art. Cool smool. Someone from my small town was in your magazine. Ultimately my box is overflowing year round, so if you’re “cool,” more power to you and I’ll keep truckin’. — Rick Nichols, Nassau Jewelry, Fernandina Beach, FL

Keepin’ It Real

  • Just a quick note to say that I loved your July cover photo! Less about the jewelry the model is wearing, but more about how she looks and is dressed like a regular woman. Well done, INSTORE! — Lisa Malbranck, Diamond Gallery, Winnipeg, MB

Notice Would Be Nice

  • What are we to do when our vendors, many of whom we have worked with for many years, start selling online? Many times without telling us of their plan to do so. Sometimes we find out from customers, or an ad will pop up on Google. — Meg Rankin, J. Rankin Jewellers, Edmonds, WA

Rushing to Read

  • When INSTORE shows up every month, it’s first-come, first-served — everyone reads it front to back. Great publication. I used to be a Brain Squad member and fell off; glad I can get back on! — Tom Nelson, Nelson Jewelry, Spencer, IA

Advice for the Fam

  • I wouldn’t know where to start if it weren’t for your magazine. Now that my son and I have family helpers in the store, I require them to read INSTORE cover-to-cover for planning, preparing and for generating/trying new ideas. Thank you! — Jill Keith, Enchanted Jewelry, Danielson, CT
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