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Rosanne Kroen




IF THERE IS ONE THING THAT SURPRISES Rosanne Kroen about opening her own retail jewelry store after 30 years in the business, it’s how well she’s doing. If there is a recession, no one has informed her customers. “There are days that we just stand here with our mouths open, going ‘Wow’,” Kroen says. “Part of it is that there’s only one other jeweler on this side of town. They are on one side of the golf course and we are on the other.” Kroen opened the 1,200-square-foot store 18 months ago in a brand new commercial strip center. She offers her customers comfortable seating, low-pressure sales, conversation and coffee. “It’s not always good,” she says, “but it is always hot. 
“I started in the retail jewelry business at age 18, working for both large national jewelry firms and small locally owned firms. In 2006, with careful consideration, the support of jewelry vendors I had worked with in the past and the blessing of my husband, I decided to take charge of my business life and open my own store. I had worked for over 30 years in a regional mall that was razed to build a series of strip malls, so I had a personal trade built on the south side of South Bend. I called Ed (who I had worked with off and on for 16 years), and Scott, (a bench jeweler I had worked with for eight years). Both were ready to leave the mall atmosphere. So here we are! We don’t aspire to be the biggest jewelry store in town, just the best. Our mission is to make women happy by treating them as we want to be treated. Customers tell us our store is comfortable; we could ask for nothing more.” 
9 a.m. Ed and I arrive to set up the store; we open at 9:30 a.m. I go online to check the price of gold, answer e-mails, place one order from the weekend, and check the bank account for credit-card deposits and checks paid. 
9:30 a.m. Call radio rep. We are sponsoring a Mother’s Day giveaway, and I have a question about the promo. 
10 a.m. We received a shipment of new bridal and fashion (pieces) Friday that needs to be tagged and put in the computer; will work on this today. 
11:35 a.m. Finally finish inputting stock, just need to tag merchandise.  
12:30 p.m. Order a bridal mounting and miscellaneous findings online. It’s just easier than making a phone call, (I hate being put on hold) and I can see a picture of the item so I am sure I am ordering correctly. 
1:30 p.m. Prepare gold scrap for shipping to refiner, send back unsold memo diamonds (and pay for the ones I sold last week). Need to pay invoices due next week, too. 
2:30 p.m. Sit down to pay invoices, but thankfully I am interrupted by a customer. My TV ad rep comes in to try to sell me airtime; I sell her new silver items instead! Back to bookkeeping. I seem to struggle through the computer bookkeeping part of the business (we are jewelers, not accountants), but I am too frugal to pay someone else to do the computer work. So I struggle through the daily work (but have an accountant do the payroll and all the taxes). I think I am just old-school and would do better with pen and paper than computer! 
3:30 p.m. Finally eat a sandwich at my desk. Have a few customers, mainly repairs so far today. Scott, our bench jeweler, arrives, and we go over the jobs for the day. 
4:30 to 5:30 p.m. We have a mini-rush. I deliver a bridal to a 77-year-old couple getting married in June, a pair of diamond earrings and an order for a diamond bracelet. Ed is showing bridal at the same time. $3,500 in an hour. Whew! 
6:30 p.m. Stow the jewelry in the vault, prepare for tomorrow. Will take the packages to the post office on my way home. 
One of the perks of owning your own store is being able to take time off when needed. I am taking today off for personal business. 
9 a.m. The phone starts ringing immediately. Ed is off, so Scott and I will handle the crowds today! 
9:30 a.m. Start in on the pile on my desk. A parts order came in yesterday; need to funnel them into customers’ envelopes and get them to the proper shop.  
10:30 a.m. We are having difficulty with a medical-alert-bracelet order. I have talked with the customer twice today already to see what she wants us to do for her. She wants a small plate, but needs too much info engraved on it. We can engrave it, but you won’t be able to read it! Special orders that arrived yesterday need to be inspected and put in the computer, as does the stock that came in. Call customers to let them know they are ready! 
1 p.m. I seem to be a bit scattered today. I take in two repairs and help a customer design a new ring from her mother’s diamonds. The phone won’t stop ringing, (mainly solicitations). I eat a sandwich at my desk while going through the mail I need to order a mounting and more bench parts. 
2 p.m. I help customers. We have a very relaxed attitude in our store, and customers just stop in to chat. Sometimes I think we should have a degree in psychology and maybe nursing. Our clientele is a bit older, and they just love to tell us about their latest ailments! 
3 p.m. Resolve bracelet order; customer picked a different one that will accommodate her needs. This has been a slower sales day, but we are working on a few larger sales and special orders. The month has been exceptional, the second best since we opened 18 months ago. Only last December was better. (Good thing my customers don’t realize we are in a recession!) 
6:30 p.m. Last customer leaves. We had an OK day. Need to tidy up and stow the merchandise. 
12 p.m. Ed catches me up on what had happened so far today. Check price of gold and e-mail. 
1 p.m. The items I ordered yesterday are here; need to get them in the right job envelopes. I am having a problem with a wedding-band order. The first time we ordered it, it came in a size too large. I got the replacement today, and still it’s a size too large. How much time does it take to put a ring on a mandrel and check the size before you ship it! Evidently they have mislabeled their bins, but it is such a hassle to have to keep reordering, and sending the wrong ones back. Not to mention that the customer is getting anxious! We are doing our first-ever home party Saturday evening at the home of one of our better customers. We are taking sterling and a custom line of gemstone bead jewelry, and a line of silver and 18K that we just got in. This should be fun! I want to get supplies ready to take (order forms, finger sizers, display pads etc.). If this goes well I might do one a month. Not just for the sales, but to get our name out there. 
2 p.m. Run end-of-month reports, submit payroll. Need to write checks for memo sold last month. 
4 p.m. Busy with customers, finish knotting a pearl bracelet for a customer repair. 
6:30 p.m. The last customer just left. One of our regulars brought in a friend from work to have a ring restyled. We had a full day of customers, more special orders to be placed tomorrow. I didn’t make a dent in the stack of paperwork on my desk. That will have to wait for another day! 
9:15 a.m. Ed has most of the store set up by the time I arrive. 
9:30 a.m. Customers come in to pick up/drop off repairs. The weather is expected to take a turn for the worse today, so everyone is out and about early. 
1 p.m. I finally get a chance to place orders from yesterday. The joke around here is that we may have cases full of beautiful jewelry, but we could do just as well with open catalogs in the cases given the number of special orders we do! Most of the special orders are items that we would not necessarily carry, such as specific charms and medals. And remounts. We are good at creating restyles from findings and parts rather than having them cast. It is less expensive, and in this economic climate, that matters to the customer. 
2 p.m. Ed chats with a gentleman (who likes his coffee with just cream) while I sell his wife earrings. I think the gentleman comes in just for the coffee!  
3:15 p.m. Scott arrives. We go over the day’s jobs with him. The new tools and parts we ordered for him arrived today. He is as happy as a kid in a candy store. 
4 p.m. I have been wading through paperwork and paying bills. It is a quiet day; the thunderstorms might have something to do with that! Ed is reading the new INSTORE magazine, sharing the highlights with me as I type. A husband and wife come in to pick up her repair. She wanted to show her husband the blue diamond ring I had shown her last week. Sadly, it has been sold. I tell her we would be getting new stock, but not until after May 20. The date is important because her anniversary is May 19 — and because her husband was in Wednesday and purchased the ring for her!  
5 p.m. I sell a few items and visit with customers. Two ladies whom I had not seen in years stop in to say hi. It’s nice to show them our new store and merchandise.  
5:45 p.m. Finally finish with accounting for the day. We start putting out the items for the home party on stackable display pads. 
6:30 p.m. It was a quiet selling day, but we did catch up on other things. 
9:45 a.m. It is a beautiful Midwest spring day. I do not expect to be too busy today. If we were selling bedding plants and fertilizer we would be swamped! The garden center I pass on my way to work was busy already, so we have moderate expectations for sales today. We’re open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Ed has the store just about ready to open when I arrive. Ed turns on the open sign early; we are ready to sell! 
10:30 a.m. A customer inquires about leaving two diamonds for consignment. I explain our policy and how much he could expect to receive from the sale of his items. We do not buy off the street, but will take quality items on consignment and will take scrap gold and diamonds in on trade. Quite often customers have unrealistic expectations of the resale value of their jewelry.  
11:30 a.m. The day is quiet. Ed is busy cleaning the items I am taking to the home party today; Scott is busy in the shop. I am working on the computer. 
1:30 p.m. Friends stop in to say hi; I start packing up for the show. 
3 p.m. Closing time; it was a very slow sales day, as expected.  
3:30 p.m. Arrive at the customer’s home and start setting up. As this is the first home show I have ever done I have no real expectations. Guests are to begin arriving at 4. It is open-house style, 4 to 7 p.m. 
7 p.m. The last guest just left, so I am packing up. We did over $600. Not too bad for our first show!



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