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Jewelers Are All Over the Map on Recent Productivity

Most are keeping busy, from chicken-coop construction and homeschooling to remodeling their stores and updating their websites.



IN AN INSTORE Brain Squad survey deployed on April 19, we asked jewelry store owners and managers to rate their productivity level since the pandemic began to affect their work lives. The most popular response, at 17 percent, was a 3 on a scale of 10, but 8 percent rated themselves at a 10. We received 221 responses in all for this question. Jewelers say they are doing their best juggling home life with work life, whether or not they have access to their stores. Many who say they’ve been productive have put time into improving their online presence, catching up on repairs or custom work, or completing touchups and renovations on their stores.

Here are examples of 10 jewelers who rated themselves from 1 to 10 on the productivity score and how they described what they’ve been up to.

Rate your productivity on a scale of 1 (completely non-productive) to 10 (incredibly productive) since the start of the pandemic (or lockdown).

  1. “Duh, closed.” — Ira Kramer, the Diamond Exchange of Maryland, Rockville, MD
  2. “In New Hampshire, jewelry is not considered essential, I doubt it is anywhere. It is impossible to be productive when your shop is so small that social distancing would never work. All my repairs are done, a few people have picked up their items, but most are waiting for healthier times. At least I have plenty of time to clean the shop.” — James Doggett, Doggett Jewelry, Kingston, NH
  3. “I have two small children at home, so I am balancing (or rotating between) 1 – using this time as a blessing and focusing on my family. 2 – playing schoolteacher and keeping a sense of routine. 3 – cleaning up after a family that is home every second of every day. and 4 – adding in some work and not feeling too guilty about missing all of these amazing webinars! — Allison Leitzel-Williams, Leitzel’s Jewelry, Myerstown, PA
  4. We have been able to open and have done some large jobs, but this is usually our big engagement ring season and we haven’t had near the volume. — Nathan George, Joshua’s Fine Jewelry, Russelville, AR
  5. My stores are clean and freshly painted. My house is immaculate. My mood is dismal. — Aida Leisure, OBS Jewelers, St. Michaels, MD
  6. We have sold a few things, are working on special orders and cleaning and retagging the inventory. I can’t wait to reopen. — Laura Sipe, JC Sipe, Indianapolis, IN
  7. We started remodeling the backroom work area before this all started. Being closed gave me the opportunity to complete this project by myself. — Mark Robinette, Robinette Jewelers, Seneca Falls, NY
  8. Not as productive as I would like, but I’m getting stuff done that I’ve been meaning to do for a while! I’ve photographed, edited, and listed dozens of new products online (Etsy). My brand-new standalone website should be launching next week! I’ve got online orders, so even though my store is closed to the public, I’ve been going in most every day to make those items. And I’m taking some “me” time to read and do jigsaw puzzles. So, yay! — Janne Etz, Contemporary Concepts, Cocoa, FL
  9. At home, I built a chicken-coop expansion. At the store, I relabeled findings, cleaned the carpets, put up a back splash. Really, never a dull moment. If this is what retirement feels like I’d rather keep working! — Karen Fitzpatrick, Harris Jewelers, Rio Rancho, NM
  10. The day starts at 9 a.m. as normal with a virtual meeting, then the sales team makes 100 calls each to our customer base, then in the afternoon we watch sales training by Shane Decker or vendors. The admin team has been working on new budgets and sales projections, inventory analysis, and training for them as well. The goldsmith have been cleaning all the jewelry and the merch team is repricing and getting ready for the opening. — Tom Duma, Thom Duma Fine Jewelers, Warren, OH

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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Wilkerson Testimonials

Retirement Made Easy with Wilkerson

The store was a landmark in Topeka, Kansas, but after 80 years in business, it was time for Briman’s Leading Jewelers to close up shop. Third generation jeweler and owner Rob Briman says the decision wasn’t easy, but the sale that followed was — all thanks to Wilkerson. Briman had decided a year prior to the summer 2020 sale that he wanted to retire. With a pandemic in full force, he had plenty of questions and concerns. “We had no real way to know if we were going to be successful or have a failure on our hands,” says Briman. “We didn’t know what to expect.” But with Wilkerson in charge, the experience was “fantastic” and now there’s plenty of time for relaxing and enjoying a more secure retirement. “I would recommend Wilkerson to any retailer considering a going-out-of-business sale,” says Briman. “They’ll help you reach your financial goal. Our experience was a tremendous success.”

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