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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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Family Dynamics, What Is Gold, Problems with Manufacturers, and More of Your Letters for January

It’s always interesting working with family.

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On Working with Family

  • As far as working with family, if they ask for something, I direct them to other stores. My sister asked me for a light gold chain; I told her that I don’t have one! — Saro Abrahamian, Town Jewelers, Chevy Chase, MD
  • Working with family can be very challenging because the regular rules can’t always be applied. Remain calm and use this phrase: “Would you accept the same behavior you’re offering me?” — Stacey Horcher, I. Reiss, Lincolnwood, IL
  • Most days, it is a pleasure to have worked 55 years with family members. Scheduling is most challenging. — Eileen Eichhorn, Eichhorn Jewelry, Decatur, IN
  • My oldest son started working with me part-time this year to help while I have two staff on maternity leave. I had to twist his arm … hard. He thought working with his dad was a mistake. And he is a millennial. So far, not a single fight. He has brought some great ideas forward, gets along with all the other staff and is a very good salesperson. It helps he is super-smart. Takes after his Dad. — David Blitt, Troy Shoppe Jewellers, Calgary, AB

Is It Still Gold?

  • I find it interesting that the recent FTC rule allows gold as low as 1 karat to be called gold. I suppose it won’t be an across-the-board ruling, as in can you call a hot dog a steak if it has 4.6 percent sirloin in the contents? We as an industry need to begin to call out what “real jewelry” consists of. All personal adornments are not fine jewelry. — Murphy McMahon, Murphy McMahon & Co., Kalispell, MT

Done with Service

  • I’m ready to see a retailer revolution! I’m so tired of repairing/fitting/sizing jewelry and watches for people that buy online … especially from a designer/brand I carry. If you go directly to a watch brand and buy a timepiece from their website and then bring it to me to adjust the bracelet or strap just because I’m a dealer for them, I’m going to tell you to send it back to them to get fitted. And same with jewelry bought directly from a designer. Oh, you want that ring sized? NO! I’m done being a service center for these brands that sell directly to my customers. You want the sales, then you can handle the service, too. Plain and simple. — Marc Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX

More Haves, Fewer Have-Nots

  • It seems like the industry (and maybe society in general) continues to split into the “haves” and the “have-nots.” This is not healthy by any stretch. The excitement over lab-grown diamonds is in part that now retailers can now offer a diamond that was previously maybe only in the customer’s dreams, but with the much lower prices has become much more attainable. This causes the “haves and have-nots” divide to narrow. And if the prices on lab-growns continue to go down, it might just cause the divide to narrow further, with more consumers “having” diamonds. — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA
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Webinar Love, Holiday Cheer and More of Your Letters to the Editor

Jewelers seem cautiously optimistic for holiday sales.

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Holiday Cheer

We are excited about the holidays. Positive thoughts bring progress and change. It is only natural to grow. If you are not, find out what is causing you not to. — Bill Jones, Sissy’s Log Cabin, Pine Bluff, AR

Webinar Love

I wanted to drop a quick note to share how much I enjoyed the webinar, “How to Get Your Millennial Prospects to Buy (Again and Again).” Kathleen Cutler did a great job boiling things down to basics that made sense and are actionable by your average retailer. Congratulations and a heartfelt thank you to INSTORE for helping to nurture and guide the industry to capture more of our fair share of consumers’ disposable income. We will never build back this industry to the good ol’ days until we band together and worry not what our fellow jeweler is doing, but how we work together as an industry to attract buyers to the category.  — Kim E. Pelletier, IGC Brand Services, Chicago

Feeling Grateful

We’re hoping and expecting a wonderful Christmas. We are stocked to the gills. I am also very grateful for Jewelers Helping Jewelers on Facebook and the jewelers who are willing to help one another. — Rick Nichols, Nassau Jewelry, Fernandina Beach, FL

Cautious Optimism

I’d love to see a correction in the way consumers are buying right now. If we can end this year with traffic up, sales up and customers returning to some kind of normal buying habit, then I will feel great about going into 2020. I’m cautiously optimistic and think that buyers will come around this year because they’re tired of shopping online and want a personal experience. — Marc Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX

Women Lead the Way

Women jewelry designers are the wave of the future. They are bringing a fresh, unique and clean aesthetic to the world of jewelry. — Elizabeth Saba, Presley Co. Fine Jewelers, San Diego, CA

(We agree, Elizabeth. Keep an eye out for our “Future Is Female” issue in February. — Ed.).

Diamond Confusion

We expect further cuts to mined diamond prices. What’s tough to figure out is if that is an opportunity or a time to unload … challenging indeed. — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA

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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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