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Talking Pandemic, Economy, Race Relations, And More Reader Letters

From thoughtful planning to angry resentment, readers react to the current crisis facing North America.




  • First of all, I love the magazine and look forward to it every month. I like the real-life situations of the problems created by customers and staff alike. I also like seeing the latest shifts and pictures of beautiful work by other artists. However, I am a small business and my network of suppliers and buyers has greatly diminished. I am slowly coming back, but often wonder if I will ever be up to speed like before the pandemic. I applaud all the stores that were able to stay open during the last several months. This has been a sad and disappointing season, but I’m optimistic that at some point, we will get back to a new normal …whatever that may be. — Paula Nurse, Paula Nurse Designs, Honokaa, HI
  • My husband continually reminds me that his grandfather kept this business going through two world wars and the depression. It gives us the strength to face what we need to do to get through this. — Nancy Plante, Plante Jewelers, Swansea, MA
  • We’re up and down. No consistency in this environment. Huge debate about masks in our area. Even that has become political. I just want to go back to 2019. — Rick Nichols, Nassau Jewelry, Fernandina Beach, FL
  • We opened a month ago. We were so busy that two weeks ago, I was hiring. I didn’t find anyone, and it had slowed a bit. So, one week ago I put hiring on hold. This week, we’re deciding who will be the first to be laid off. Two weeks! From hiring to layoffs. Welcome to our new reality. — Debbie Fox, Fox Fine Jewelry, Ventura, CA
  • Coronavirus is spiking here, and it feels like it has taken a pretty serious toll on our business. On the other hand, this time of year usually is slower, so it’s hard to tell exactly how much it has affected things. The diamond industry seems to be hurting right now, and it seems there is no consensus on how it should proceed. Time will tell, but it seems there will have to be significant changes along the entire pipeline going forward. The financial impact to my investment in diamonds has become a source of concern. — David Phelps, John David Jewelers, Durham, NC
  • We believe the industry as a whole has not addressed the issue of systemic racism and justice. Leaders such as the JA, AGTA and AGS have made soft statements. They all need to be strong in the commitment to ending systemic racism in society and in the industry. They need to stand for justice. Retailers need to do the same, as do our leading publications (that is not a call-out to INSTORE, unless it applies). — Bob Goodman, Robert Goodman Jewelers, Zionsville, IN
  • I’m thinking about minority-owned stores that were devastated by riots and looting, wondering how anyone can pretend that’s related to justice. I’m disgusted by hate wherever it exists. — Stacey Horcher, J. Reiss, Lincolnwood, IL
  • My crew has a lot of fear about any direct contact. Only our GM and I have dealt with any customers live — everything else has been handled virtually. Steep learning curve on how to build an online presence, etc. Appreciate ALL wisdom on how to grow our followers, engagement and brand. — Katherine Lesse, Abracadabra Jewelry, Ann Arbor, MI
  • I used to really love to read INSTORE, but lately I feel that the articles are written by people high on weed. All the supposed ideas talked about are like they’re a big myth. You find one store in any area that’s doing good and make it look like everyone else is same, get real!!! — Saro Abrahamian, Town Jewelers, Chevy Chase, MD
  • INSTORE, along with many industry vendors and organizations, has been truly wonderful in offering my employees tremendous educational opportunities during these unsettling times. Thank you and thanks to ZOOM! — Jon Walp, Long Jewelers, Virginia Beach, VA
  • Seeing some of the spikes on the U.S. side, along with the divisive politics, makes me glad I live in Canada. Not perfect, but at least we still can talk about issues and not get threatened or shot! — David Blitt, Troy Shoppe Jewellers, Calgary, AB



This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

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