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Mike Doland Bows Out to Make Room for His Sons



Mike Doland of Doland Jewelers in Dubuque, IA, told his three sons that when he turned 65, he’d be stepping aside and they could purchase the business. True to his word, he did leave at the end of December, ready to have some fun in the sun, but still happy to be on call if they need his help.

But it didn’t happen like magic. When Doland turned 58, he heard an attorney discuss succession plans during a seminar and took the advice to heart. “I discussed it with my wife, put a plan together, took it to my attorney and one thing led to another.” At the end of December, his sons assumed the stock of the company and he officially ended his tenure as owner. “We have a winter residence, so they don’t have to worry about my being around for the few months after the transition.” 

Because he had that plan in place, he and his sons worked to grow the business, rather than making it smaller, as would have been the case in a GOB situation.

Doland said he was mentally ready. Each of his sons manages a separate store. “They have basically been operating the stores, with my thoughts coming in from the background for the last three years. They’ve been running the business. I wasn’t going to say I’m in charge until the day I turn things over. They are prepared and able to take it to the next level.”

Doland, a former art teacher, started the business in the ‘80s and he’s proud to see it continue. “It’s exciting,” he says. “They have so many different ideas than I would have had at my age. The numbers are bigger now but they are keeping an eye on things, they find joy in that.”


He’ll be around in an advisory role, after a vacation. “They still want my input — at least they say they do!”

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



Wilkerson Testimonials

Texas Jeweler Knew He'd Get Only One Shot at a GOB Sale, So He Wanted to Make It Count

Most retailers only have one GOB sale in their lifetimes. This was the case for Gary Zoet, owner of Shannon Fine Jewelry in Houston, Texas. “Wilkerson has done thousands of these sales,” says Zoet. “I’ve never done one, so it’s logical to have somebody with experience do it.” The result exceeded Zoet’s expectations. Wilkerson took care of everything from marketing to paperwork. When it’s time for you to consider the same, shouldn’t you trust the experts in liquidation?

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Mojo To Go



In 2017, the 25th anniversary of Steve Floyd’s business, Floyd & Green Jewelers of Aiken, SC, came with problems that overshadowed what should have been a celebration.

He and his business partner Tom Williams were faced with the resignation of their top two sales staffers within a short time period. “We’d been expecting a great year, and boom, we’re losing our million-dollar sellers,” Floyd recalls. “It really was a slap in the face. We just looked at each other and said, ‘What’s going on here?’”

Floyd had started working as a bench jeweler when he was in high school in 1977. But 40 years later, it wasn’t fun coming to work, and he and his partner were getting “snippy” with one another. “It got to the point where it didn’t matter to me whether I came to work or not,” Floyd says. “Once you’re in that funk, it’s hard to get out of it. I hadn’t had to hire anyone in a while, hadn’t had turnover in a while. Hiring is no fun these days.”

Floyd and his partner had made it a practice of inviting experts to come to the store, and while that always provided a jolt of energy and enthusiasm, they felt they were at the point where they needed more. Buyers Intelligence Group CEO Abe Sherman and members of their BIG Plexus Group suggested hiring Vince Rath of Optimum Retail Solutions as a consultant. Rath and Associates visited the store every six to eight weeks for a year.

“One thing that’s hard as owners is that no one holds us accountable. We felt we needed someone who could do that birds’ eye view of the business, who wasn’t emotionally invested. We didn’t need saving, but we needed to be happy again.”
What began to turn things around was making a commitment to honest, sensitive communication between the partners.

Rath believes that a loss of enthusiasm begins “when we experience the world in a way that doesn’t align with our expectations and we feel powerless to change things. Maybe it stems from ongoing routines (a rut) that produce mediocre results and we’ve exhausted what we know to do.” Rath’s team interviewed each of Floyd’s employees for clues. “They turned us upside down,” Floyd says.

They discovered that the employees loved the partners but that the partners were not always on the same page, creating confusion among the staff. “We set some daily goals,” Floyd says. That includes getting the employees invested in the success of the store and offering them more games and incentives to keep up morale. “People are happy when they’re winning.”

As an unexpected bonus, both heavy-hitter salespeople have returned to the fold due to a change in their personal circumstances, and they’ve added other highly qualified staff as well.

Now the business is running up 25 percent for the year, Floyd is having fun again and he and Williams have never been on better terms.

“And I’ve found time to be away from the store,” Floyd says. “The ultimate luxury is time.”

We recently asked our Brain Squad to describe the status of their relationship with jewelry. Only 3 percent confessed that the passion had died, but everyone hits a slump from time to time if they’re human. Read on for advice on how to bounce back from career ennui.

12 Ways to Regain Your Mojo

1 Do what you love; avoid what you don’t. Burnout doesn’t happen when you are working long hours on invigorating activities, writes Marcus Buckingham in Go Put Your Strengths To Work. But fill your weeks with the wrong kinds of activities, and even regular hours will start the burn. Clarify and confirm which activities strengthen you and which weaken you, then start the process of pushing your time toward the former and away from the latter.

Management guru Tom Peters also has what he calls a “to don’t” list, an inventory of behaviors and practices that sap his energy, divert his focus and ought to be avoided. Each week, craft your own agenda of avoidance. Get rid of the unnecessary obligations, time-wasting distractions and useless burdens that stand in your way. What you decide not to do is probably more important than what you decide to do.

2 Learn something new. Learning means growing and can rekindle motivation. “Going to trade shows, especially ones that offer educational seminars, a few times a year totally rejuvenates me,” says Casey Gallant, Stephen Gallant Jewelers, Orleans, MA.

3 Have a partner. “I think every business owner has lost motivation,” says Patty Wedemeier of Elegant Jewelers in Sugar Land, TX. “But one thing that has helped me is my husband is in the store also, and if I have lost my mojo, he picks up the pace. If he lost his, I will step up.”

4 Surround yourself with positive people. Judy Stanley of Skippack Jewelers, Harleysville, PA, finds hiring a new employee — with exhilaration and excitement in their eyes about the jewelry industry — helps every time.

5 Manage mind-set. “When I am lacking in motivation, I tend to take time off and clear my head. I do that by spending the day golfing or fishing,” says James Stinson of Diamond Classics in McMinnville, TN. Read inspirational material, take a walk in the woods, try meditation or exercise. Set aside time for positive input and quiet reflection. Says Alan Perry of Perry’s Emporium in Wilmington, NC: “I go fishing for a week or go to my waterfront condo and read three or four books.”

6 Extend freedom to your staff. This will allow them to do great work, writes Daniel Pink in Drive. First, involve your team in goal-setting. A considerable body of research suggests that individuals are far more engaged when pursuing goals they had a hand in creating. Second, use non-controlling language. Next time you’re about to say “must” or “should,” try saying “think about” or consider” instead. Third, hold office hours for an hour or two a week. Sometimes it’s wise to let your staff come to you about anything on their mind.

7 Give yourself a break. What works better than working all the time? Not working all the time, according to a study by the Harvard Business Review. A group of consulting teams at a Boston company were instructed to take a scheduled break during the workday. They also weren’t allowed to work late or on weekends. The result? Communication, planning and office relationships improved and so did client satisfaction.

8 Find a mentor. This should be someone you respect who can help you see a new perspective. Andrea Riso of Talisman Collection Fine Jewelers in El Dorado Hills, CA, has experienced times in her business where both her health and finances failed. “I looked to other retailers for inspiration, camaraderie and mentorship. Two retailers who kept me going are Gary Long (Gary Long Jewelers) and Marie Helene Morrow (Reinhold Jewelers). Gary spent time with me in my store and brought me back from the ‘other side’ when I was facing illness, bad landlord, financial terror, exhaustion and an overwhelming workload.”

9 Practice gratitude. Find sincere reasons to be thankful for people or situations in your life, even if it isn’t easy. Alan Perry says thinking about what he has accomplished and being grateful for it can quickly return “the wind to his sails.”

10 Rediscover your purpose. The reason we do what we do has to be so big that its fulfillment carries us through the valleys. Kim Hatchell of Galloway & Moseley, in Sumter, SC, says all she has to do is get back on the sales floor. “All it takes for me is helping someone who brings back an emotional connection and reminds me why I started doing this to begin with.”

11 Give yourself a flow test. Pink suggests setting a reminder on your phone to go off at 40 random times in a week. Each time your device beeps, write down what you’re doing, how you’re feeling and whether you’re in “flow.” Record your observations, look at the patterns and consider how you might increase the number of optimal experiences and reduce the moments when you felt disengaged or distracted.

12 Realize you’re human. “We hear all the time that we have to be passionate,” writes Jessica Hagy on “Our work is supposed to be fulfilling and engrossing and we are supposed to wake up energized and enthusiastic, full of dedication and drive. And sometimes, we do. Sometimes, we love our work. Sometimes, it can feel great to tackle the to-do list. But we’re human. And humans are not built to be shiny, happy people all day, every day (those people are either liars or unwell). We all lose our mojo now and then. And when we do, it’s hard not to feel like a failure. So if you’re having one of those days where you want to be into the gig but you just don’t have the fire: Pause. Forgive yourself. It’s okay. You’re human.”

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Eileen McClelland

9 Things We Learned How To Do From 2018 America’s Coolest Stores

Store owners share their creative ideas.



How to Create Privacy

At Marks Jewelers in Montgomeryville, PA, owners Jim and Dareen Brusilovsky, created a Diamond Diner, with diner-like booths. The Diamond Diner concept affords couples a comfortable, intimate way of choosing a ring at the same time it creates a more effective and private selling environment.

How to Encourage Browsing

Fakier Jewelers in Houma, LA, implemented a cell-phone audio tour for clients who like to explore on their own. The app is accessed from the store’s website and customers use their own phones, listening to descriptions associated with each display. It’s also a novel way to acknowledge the importance of mobile window shopping. “The consumer now comes in with their phones in their hands, usually with something they saw on our website,” says owner Greg Fakier.

How to Put Customers At Ease

At Marisa Perry Atelier, clients collaborate with the sales staff and with designer and co-owner Douglass Elliott, around a long, custom-made community table, where everyone can be comfortable and relaxed while creating their dream engagement rings. Elliott and his team made 725 pieces of jewelry by hand last year.

How to Entertain Kids

At Bell Brooke Studio and Gallery in Santa Fe, NM, Belle Brooke Barer set up an art station in the courtyard she shares with neighboring galleries to encourage children (and others) to explore their creativity. “There’s absolutely nothing for kids on Canyon Road, and people come to Santa Fe with their families and drag their kids through the galleries. The kids are bored and the parents want to look around.” People of all ages are invited to make art there with paper, glue, scissors, crayons and markers. Some of the artists leave their work behind and Barer often displays it in the store.

How to Throw a Party

On the second floor of Stephen Webster’s Beverly Hills Boutique, there’s an art gallery, lounge and event area with a bar and banquet tables, where Webster and friends can easily accommodate dozens of guests for catered dinners. “We made a bar, we made a lounge, it felt a bit like coming to a club,” he says. “And you can come up here and see the things that I enjoy. I’ve done many, many shows with artists, photographers, musicians, fashion designers. The first floor is always Stephen Webster. The second floor is what Stephen Webster likes.”

How to Engage the Community

Viviana Langhoff, owner of Adornment + Theory in Chicago, offers monthly workshops where attendees learn hands-on techniques that help them create and appreciate the art of metalsmithing and other accessory-based techniques. She’s hosted workshops on ‘How to Make a Silver Ring’, ‘Shibori Dying: Make Your Own Scarf’, as well as ‘How to Read Diamonds’. “These workshops have helped cultivate community and further the customer experience. Not to mention, everyone has a great time. I love hearing the store filled with laughter,” Langhoff says.


How to Be Dog-Friendly

Hillary Randolph, owner of Wear Your Grace in Santa Fe, NM, created a dog bar near the entrance to her store, complete with treats tucked inside a mailbox over a tromp l’oeil of splashing water from a faux-spigot. There’s also a real water bowl there. Inside, Randolph displays a line of candy-colored leather dog leashes and collars engraved with “Walk with GRACE.” Sales help support animal rescue organizations.

How to Sell Laboratory-Grown Diamonds

McCoy Jewelers in Dubuque, IA, began selling lab-grown diamonds three years ago, not expecting they would dominate their market. Now 84 percent of center diamonds they sell are lab-created, even though they do talk about the rarity of mined diamonds. The whole presentation is about offering up options and showing the stones next to each other, says owner Jonathan McCoy. Nearly 80 percent of sales at McCoy Jewelers are bridal-related, much of it custom.

How to Get Noticed

In 2017 Northeastern Fine Jewelry in Albany, NY, sponsored a contest to win the opportunity to propose in a live commercial aired during halftime of the Super Bowl on FOX. The winner was featured in People Magazine, the Daily Mail in the UK and the New York Times. They also sponsored a half-court shot during a Siena College basketball game; the contestant made the shot and walked away with $25,000, leading to intensive coverage from ESPN.

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Smash-and-Grab Robbery Wave Targets Jewelers During Holiday Selling Season

Most of the incidents occurred in Michigan.




Smash-and-grab robbers have been targeting jewelers in Michigan and other states during the busy selling season, according to the Jewelers’ Security Alliance.

Recent Michigan robberies or attempts have included:

  • Auburn Hills, MI, Dec. 15, two male suspects
  • Taylor, MI. Dec. 16, two male suspects
  • Troy, MI, Dec. 10, pepper spray used to subdue guard
  • Clinton Township, MI, Dec. 6, three male suspects
  • Auburn Hills, MI, Dec. 14
  • Grandville, MI, Dec. 15, two male suspects

Other incidents have occurred in Ohio, Wisconsin, Georgia and Pennsylvania, according to JSA.

The suspects have concealed their identities with hoods. However, nine suspects, believed to have carried out four of the incidents, have been arrested, according to JSA. All are from Detroit.

“In addition to the violence and effect on staff, the victim stores not only lose needed inventory, but often have to close for repairs during the most important time of the year,” JSA stated. “This pattern of robberies is similar to the wave of smash-and-grab robberies throughout the country that was met with over 50 indictments and arrests of Detroit gang members in 2015.”

To see a police chase and arrest of Detroit suspects from October 2018, go to:

JSA’s recommendations regarding smash-and-grab robberies:

  • Do not resist. In addition to sledgehammers and other dangerous tools, the suspects may be armed with guns.
  • Hiring armed, off-duty police officers in the store is a deterrent to smash-and-grab robbers.
  • Having buzzers on the door can help to keep out potential robbers.
  • Showcases with burglary-resistant, laminated glass and special frames can withstand many blows with a hammer and can prevent or reduce large losses. JSA has not seen robbers take retaliatory action when laminated glass is used and robbers are unable to enter a showcase or are able to take only a small amount of merchandise from a small hole. Robbers frequently cut themselves on small holes and leave behind valuable DNA evidence from blood.
  • Having an audible glass-breakage alarm on your showcases can scare smash-and-grab robbers away, who are trying to remain in a target store for less than a minute.
  • The robbers have been targeting loose diamonds and high-end watches. Spreading high-end watches and loose diamond merchandise among several showcases, and not concentrated in one showcase, can reduce the amount of the loss in a smash-and-grab robbery.
  • Surveillance photos from eye-level cameras inside and outside the store provide excellent evidence for police. Ceiling cameras too often capture useless photos of the top of heads or hats.
  • Keeping a log book of suspicious incidents, and putting aside and saving surveillance video of suspicious incidents, can be a great help in investigations.
  • Sharing information and photos among local jewelers and police, and with JSA, regarding casings and suspects can help prevent crime and assist with investigations.
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