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Jewelry Manufacturer Temporarily Out of Commission Following Nearby Demolition Accident

The company makes jewelry for over 300 U.S. retailers.

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Strellman’s Dramatic Jewelry, a manufacturer in Virginia, MN, is temporarily out of commission following a wall collapse resulting from a nearby demolition.

Owners Jim and Julianne Paulsen saw the accident happen, the Mesabi Daily News reports. Their store, Rocks the Jewelers, was not hit, although its walls sustained stress fractures. But their manufacturing facility, in another building, was. It was severely damaged.

The newspaper reports that “debris came through the roof and bricks smashed through the ceiling of one room” of the manufacturing business.

Plans for cleanup and repair are underway.

“We cannot produce jewelry until this is fixed,” said Julianne Paulsen, noting that her company makes jewelry for more than 300 U.S. retailers. Many retailers are waiting for Christmas orders, she told the Daily News.

The dust is a problem at the moment, she said. If the mold is not perfectly clean during production, the gold can suffer from pitting, she noted.

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The wax has to be completely clean in the mold or it makes the gold porous and you get pitting,”

Several other businesses were affected but have reopened.

Read more at Mesabi Daily News

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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Thanksgiving Weekend to Draw 165M Shoppers With Deals ‘Too Good to Pass Up’

Holiday retail sales are expected to grow 4%.

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(Press Release) WASHINGTON – Retailers are preparing for one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year with an estimated 165.3 million people likely to shop Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, according to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

“The tradition of Thanksgiving weekend holiday shopping has become a five-day event with consumers spending money in stores, supporting local small businesses, and online with their mobile devices and computers,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Even as people are starting to purchase gifts earlier in the season, consumers still enjoy finding good Thanksgiving deals and passing time shopping with family and friends over the long holiday weekend.”

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Throughout the course of the holiday weekend, 39.6 million consumers are considering shopping on Thanksgiving Day, 114.6 million on Black Friday, 66.6 million on Small Business Saturday and 33.3 million on Sunday. The shopping weekend will wrap up on Cyber Monday, when 68.7 million are expected to take advantage of online bargains.

Shay said younger consumers are significantly more likely to shop over the Thanksgiving weekend. Among those ages 18-24, 88 percent say they are likely to shop and particularly enjoy the social aspect. Similarly, 84 percent of those ages 25-34 plan to shop. That compares with 69 percent of holiday shoppers overall.

Of those planning to shop, there is an almost even split of people who plan to start their shopping in-store (47 percent) compared with those who plan to start online (41 percent). Those under 25 are even more likely to say they expect to start shopping in-store (52 percent).

“We expect the biggest increase in potential shoppers for Thanksgiving Day this year,” Prosper Insights Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “We anticipate that people may head to stores if they are open or shop from their phones while watching football.”

The top reasons consumers are planning to shop include:

  • The deals are too good to pass up (65 percent)
  • Tradition (28 percent)
  • It’s when they like to start their holiday shopping (22 percent)
  • It’s something to do over the holiday (21 percent)
  • It’s a group activity with friends/family (17 percent)

For consumers who do not plan to shop, more than half (53 percent) say something could convince them. The top reasons given that would change their minds are a sale or discount on an item they want (26 percent), if a family member or friend invites them to shop (12 percent), if they could be sure the items they want are available (11 percent) or a free shipping offer (11 percent).

NRF’s annual forecast estimates that holiday retail sales in November and December will be up between 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent over 2018 for a total of between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion.

The survey of 7,917 adult consumers’ Thanksgiving weekend plans was conducted Oct. 31 through Nov. 6 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

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Jewelers to Pay $16,000 in Restitution for Scheme Targeting Military Families

They were convicted last year.

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SACRAMENTO, CA – A California jeweler must pay restitution in connection with a scheme targeting military families.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ordered defendants Ramil Abalkhad, owner of Romano’s Jewelers, and Melina Abalkhad, owner of MBNB Financial Inc., to pay the victims $16,440.56 by May 4, 2020.

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“Individuals who participate in despicable crimes by targeting our young men and women in uniform will pay the price,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “We hope today’s announcement brings healing and closure to the victims of this scheme. Our office will continue to protect all Californians from all types of fraud – large or small. The California Department of Justice will always have the backs of our military families.”

Romano’s Jewelers had several retail locations in California, including stores near Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base, according to a press release from Becerra’s office. The Abalkhads were alleged to have targeted young Marines and sailors, encouraging the purchase of jewelry using MBNB Financial for credit. According to the criminal complaint, Ramil Abalkhad failed to provide legally required disclosures about monthly payments, interest rates and others terms of financing.

Those customers who fell behind on their payments were allegedly harassed by the defendants’ debt collectors. In addition, the complaint alleged that Romano’s Jewelers used debt collectors who falsely posed as attorneys and illegally threatened servicemembers with court martial and other military disciplinary actions.

The California Department of Justice filed a 14-count felony complaint charging the defendants with conspiracy to violate the Unruh Act, which protects consumers who buy goods or services on credit, and the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which protects Californians against unlawful debt collection practices.

Becerra announced the sentencing of the defendants in December 2018. Ramil Abalkhad was sentenced to three years of felony probation, including a requirement that he serve 90 days in jail.

He will also be required to cancel outstanding MBNB debts owed by the victims identified in the criminal complaint and was also ordered to remove any negative credit reporting by MBNB from the victims’ credit history.

Melina Abalkhad was sentenced to complete a misdemeanor diversion program for her role in operating Romano’s Jewelers affiliate MBNB Financial.

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Jewelry Distributor Arrested With $15M in Counterfeit Goods, Police Say

$15M in counterfeit merchandise was seized.

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The owner of a business in the downtown Los Angeles jewelry district has been arrested for allegedly selling counterfeit jewelry.

Moossa Lari is accused of felony trademark violation, according to a press release from the LA Police Department.

Moossa Lari

Investigators conducted several undercover buys and surveillance operations and determined that he was “a major distributor of counterfeit jewelry nationwide,” the release states.

Search warrants were served at multiple locations in the jewelry district on Nov. 7 by LAPD in collaboration with the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations and Custom Border Protection.

Officers seized about $58,000 in cash and over $15 million counterfeit jewelry with Street value of over $1 million, according to the release. Counterfeit jewelry recovered included fake Hermes, Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Rolex, Michael Kors, Cartier, Tiffany Co., YSL, Dior, Calvin Klein, Guess, Van Cleef and Bvlgari pieces.

The counterfeit jewelry was tested at the scene and did not meet U.S. safety standards, the release states.

The standard of acceptable lead and cadmium is 90 parts per million. The seized counterfeit jewelry tested as high as 200,000 parts per million.

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