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For Gause and Son Jewelers, Success Means Keeping a Long-Range Focus

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Gause and Son Jeweler

 

Gause and Son Jewelers

Ocala, FL

Happy 65th Anniversary!
Interview with Teddie Gause, co-owner

How did Gause and Son Jewelers get its start?

In 1950, Mr. and Mrs. Otha Gause opened the store in downtown Ocala, FL, and called it Marion Jewelers. Back in those days they sold china, silver, and even toasters. Determined to make a success through hard work and determination, Mr. and Mrs. Gause created a fine guild jewelry store.

Was there ever a time when it looked as if the business may not survive?

Through the years many events happen that would discourage them but their sheer hard work kept it going. In starting your own business most jewelers go through many hard times. I think that you see a lot of family members get involved simply to keep the business afloat, so that sustained them.

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What has been the key to the store’s growth and longevity?

The key has been that their son, Jerry F. Gause, after serving in the U.S. Army came home and needed a job, since he had decided not to make the military his career. Starting on the sales floor in the downtown location he learned every facet of the running of the business and decided to change its name to Gause and Son Jewelers. Again, through hard work, patience (working with family is not easy) and sheer determination he developed great customer service and chose to sell fine quality jewelry and fine Swiss watches. We took on Rolex and still till this day sell them.

Gause and Son is a family affair: Jerry and Teddie Gause, with their daughter, Cammie.

Have there been any vendors who have been particularly important to the store’s success?

Yes, many vendors have helped us be successful. The greatest thing about the jewelry business is we all do a lot of handshakes and knowing and building trust with all our vendors is the key to success. I would say that Rolex has been superior through all these 60 something years. We are one of the oldest Rolex jewelers in the state of Florida. Other watch lines we have are Tag-Hauer, Phillip Stein, and recently we have taken on Shinola. Diamond companies we have had as mainstays include SES, Gottlieb and Son, Tacori, and Radiant Cut Diamonds. Cammie McLeod, our daughter, has built a great relationship with the companies, which is so important, because a lot of vendors who represent their companies develop many long-term business relationships. Their job is difficult and they cover a lot of states so it is important to treat them with great respect.

What’s the main lesson all those years in the business taught your family about jewelry retail?

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We have learned that the key ingredient of a successful business is to have a long-range plan and working goals. Every year we meet and plan out our business strategy. We set up our budget for advertising, buying, events, customer lists, and repair and service department. We have our in-house Rolex master watchmaker, our master goldsmith, our GIA gemologist and diamond appraisers, and a great sales associate team — they are what has helped make our company great for 65 years. Selling quality diamonds and offering good value have helped build up our carriage trade clientele.

What’s your favorite “True Tale” from your years in the business?

One day this gentleman and his wife drove up to the front of the store in a brand-new SUV Cadillac. They walked in and the husband says, “I just bought a $50,000 car for myself and now I would like to buy my wife a diamond for the same amount.” It was a great day for me, because I showed her a beautiful yellow diamond and she walked out the store. So I would call her “One lucky lady.” That was a happy day at Gause and Son Jewelers.

What has the latest generation brought to the business?

Our daughter, Cammie McLeod, is the third generation and has a great fashion sense when it comes to picking out beautiful jewelry pieces and a true sense of knowing how to buy the right type of designer jewelry for what has developed into a great client base. That is the key thing I see that has changed in our industry. Now the women make a lot of self-purchases, whereas a few years ago, the sales were dominated by the males, i.e. diamond engagement rings, anniversary rings, Christmas gifts and graduation gifts. But the Baby Boomers, when they want it, they get it! Great for us, the hometown jeweler. Also with the technology, Facebook and email has updated the industry a lot. Cammie is great at advertising, billboards, and TV — family recognition in our community is so important.

What’s next for the store?

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We have downsized in the last four years. We had three stores, two mall locations and our anchor store (which is downtown), so we made the call to close the two mall locations, which was a great call with the economy slowing down. So we have been in one location for 33 years. So where we started some 65 years ago we are still downtown on the square in Ocala. We completely gutted our store four years ago and have made it big and beautiful with a coffee bar and TV area. It’s what I call a customer-friendly jewelry store where you can come in and enjoy shopping. Our mission is to build a great customer base for all of central Florida.

How did celebrate this milestone?

We went all out. We decided to make it a charity event with all the money going to the Marion County Humane Society. We made up raffle tickets with Mr. Gause and Bruiser (our dog) for a drawing of the Bruiser, a gent’s all stainless Rolex watch valued at $9,000. We sold the tickets for $50 a chance and had a huge party on Nov. 5. Over 200 people attended. We served wine, appetizers, and had drawing for the Rolex. It was a great event and the mayor of Ocala declared the whole day Gause and Son Jewelers Day. Our staff and everyone had a great time entertaining customers and we raised $14,000 for the Humane Society.

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