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Rising Gold Prices, the Pandemic, and America’s Coolest Stores. Readers Write in with Their Thoughts

One retailer demands the return of Gene The Jeweler.




Looking Up

  • Our July was INSANE. We took in over $40,000 in the last eight days alone, Very grateful. We are still behind last year’s numbers because of the lockdown but feel that if this busy traffic continues, we can make those numbers up. — Julie Terwilliger, Wexford Jewelers, Cadillac, MI

America’s Coolest Comments

  • It was great to see [Small Cool winner] Hugo Kohl’s success. I remember when he sent out a “catalog” of folded sheets from his printer (I still have several). Having once been a die-cutter, I appreciate what he is doing to save the artistry that could never be replicated. Congratulations. — James Doggett, Doggett Jewelry, Kingston, NH
  • I love your Cool Stores edition … it’s inspiring to learn about others in the industry! I believe those who use data (and INSTORE inspiration!) to keep the pulse on industry trends and customer wishes will survive and thrive. — Jill Keith, Enchanted Jewelry, Danielson, CT
  • You should do a Coolest Store issue with stores under 1,000 square feet; too many of the stores you feature are too big, too expensive and over-decorated. — Gary Astrein, Astreins, Birmingham, MI
  • Our favorite issue! Love to see stores and people we know who have won! Hugo Kohl and Denis de Boulle, to name a few! — Jeffrey English, J.D. English Jewelers, Dallas, TX
  • You’re doing it right … keep it up. Love the America’s Coolest Stores issue; it gives us something to aspire to. It was a previous Coolest Store issue that compelled me to make my new location so much better, and we were honored to be chosen as one of the Big Cool stores this year. We’re thrilled. — Ralph Vandenberg, Vandenberg’s Jewellers, Edmonton, AB
  • Outstanding! Inspiring! Great stories from the Coolest Stores! Thank you! — Ellie Thompson, Ellie Thompson + Co., Chicago, IL

Doldrums of Retail

  • My team carries on as usual, but it has always been my job to chart the way. I feel like the captain on a ship in still water and deep fog, uncertain of what lays ahead. I do what I did back when I had crazy teenagers: “I can’t solve it right now, but I am okay for the next five minutes, or five days, and that is okay for now.” Work is steady, and we are still all healthy. Counting blessings as I find them. — Jo Goralski, The Jewelry Mechanic, Oconomowoc, WI

Diversity Wanted

  • You never do articles on small shops or individuals who work from home but put their lines in stores … that is a huge industry you miss. Let’s see more diversity in the population, as well. Shame on you for not spotlighting people of color, especially now! You are too white! — Mary Wheeler, Mary Wheeler Designs, Cohoes, NY

Anybody Out There?

  • Where have our reps gone? It’s like crickets out there. I thought they might check in with us once in a while. — Meg Rankin, J. Rankin Jewellers, Edmonds, WA

Many Thanks

  • I would again like to thank the vendors and all the associations that have stepped up to offer educational programs during this period. It makes me proud to be a part of an industry interested in investing in its people. — Jon Walp, Long Jewelers, Virginia Beach, VA

Surprised by Appointment

  • As we have for the time being changed our business to “appointment only,” it is interesting to see how our clients have easily adapted and actually enjoy the private meet. And even though it causes less foot traffic, it seems to be offset by our so-called “closing ratio.” Meaning that everyone who takes the time and makes an appointment does some kind of business with us, as opposed to “just looking” or just looking for information. Add to that better security and easier to practice health guidelines, and it has been a pleasant surprise in one way. — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA

New Rules of Staffing

  • How has the COVID time changed or transitioned your staff or your vision for a future staff changed during this time? If holes in your staff have recently happened … any ideas for new roles during a changing retail culure? Versus simply filling the same roles per usual when and if a staff member leaves? — Christina Baribault-Ortiz, Baribault Jewelers, Glastonbury, CT

Humor Needed

  • Bring back Gene The Jeweler! We need more of that humor, especially right now! — Marc Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX

Good Old Days and Gold

  • I guess I am getting old or just nostalgic. I remember the “good old days” when teenage girls would buy a series of gold chains and charms with their first jobs. Today, we see fewer than one-third as many customers as in the early 2000s. I also remember when we sold a huge amount of high-quality gold-filled earrings and pendants. I do not see a lot of coverage on both of these trends. The high price of gold should be of concern as this is the raw ingredient that much of our industry’s business relies on. I know that the gold-filled manufacturers are mainly gone because solid 10- and 14-karat gold was so reasonable that their market share evaporated. If, and I say if, the gold price rises to new heights, what will the consumers expect and be willing to pay? I, along with many smaller stores, will have to learn new ways and possibly carry far fewer items and rely on custom/made-to-order to fill the consumers’ desires. — Edwin Menk, E.L. Menk Jewelers, Brainerd, MN

Ultimate Appreciation

  • You guys always do a GREAT job. The article “Ultimate True Tales” IS GREAT. Thanks!! — Tommy Thobe, The Village Gem, Perry Hall, MD
  • Keep up the great work — you’re keeping us somewhat normal. — Janice A. Niebauer, Jan & Dan’s Jewelry, Erie, PA
  • Your magazine is the best in the industry for store owners 🙏. — Edward Guerboian, Edward Co. Premier Jeweler, Santa Monica, CA

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].



Wilkerson Testimonials | C. Aaron Peñaloza Jewelers

Wilkerson Paves the Way for the Future

After serving the San Antonio, Texas community for decades, C. Aaron Peñaloza Jewelers closed its doors earlier this year. Aaron and Mary Peñaloza, the store’s owners, chose Wilkerson to handle their retirement sale. “In the first six days, we did six months’ worth of business,” says Aaron. “In the first three weeks, we did a year’s worth of business.” Mary Peñaloza says Wilkerson’s ability to tailor the sale to their store’s requirements really made it all so much easier. “They are professionals,” she says. “They know what they’re doing. They have a plan, but they will listen to you and adjust that plan to your needs.”

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