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Teen Shooting in Florida Jewelry Store Prompts Responses, and More Reader Letters

Two readers warn guns are dangerous, while another worries about the death of retail in favor of custom design.

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Guns Are Dangerous

I closed my jewelry store about a year ago, after 34 years in the industry. I had been trained to survive a shooting in my store, but not in a horse pasture. The damage caused by an assault rifle firing in your direction is significant, even if the bullets do not hit you. My horse and I both have PTSD. Jewelers tend to be pro-gun, but no one looks who is behind what you are shooting at, and that is how my business failed: trauma caused by an inattentive shooter. The law enforcement officer that almost killed me did not pay attention to what was behind his poorly constructed target and I saw every bullet pass by as I huddled in a pasture, as horses were screaming and running around me.

Guns are more dangerous than most jewelers know — especially assault rifles. —B. Diane Eames, Gems Of The Hill Country, Ingram, TX

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Not Self-Defense

Why don’t you call it what it is: Florida is a seriously messed-up state! Kid robs a store, runs out and gets into a car, then gets shot in the head.

Florida calls that justified? There was no threat to life once the guy runs. It’s a homicide by the store owner! Not self-defense by any means! —Mark Shneyer, M. Stephen Fine Jewelry, Hackettstown, NJ

Come Together

INSTORE Magazine is my grounding. Every month, I get the physical magazine that I can share with our crew or the emails that give tips and tricks. It makes me feel not-quite-so-alone in the business. Yes, we are all in competition with the other stores in our areas, but there is a sense of camaraderie with INSTORE that allows us to share triumphs and woes, as well as tidbits of information that we probably wouldn’t share independently. It gives me a sense of unity that I never felt until I started getting INSTORE. —Wadeana Beveridge, Community Jewelry, Brandon, FL

Too Much Service?

I am for the first time concerned as I see so much retail around me be replaced by services! Even though we will always get some business of custom and repairs, as a designer-retailer, I need to have outright sales, so I can continue to fill my need to create! —Eve J. Alfille, Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio, Evanston, IL

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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A Packed Store Like the Day Before Christmas? Wilkerson Makes It Happen

Deb Schulman says once she and her husband, Ron, decided to retire, she could feel “the stress start to leave.” The owners of B. Alsohns Jewelers in Palm Desert, California, the Schulmans had heard about Wilkerson over the years and contacted them when the time was right. Wilkerson provided the personalized service, experience and manpower it took to organize their GOB sale. “We are so impressed with the way Wilkerson performed for us,” says Ron Schulman, “I’d send high accolades to anyone who was interested.”

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Family Dynamics, What Is Gold, Problems with Manufacturers, and More of Your Letters for January

It’s always interesting working with family.

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On Working with Family

  • As far as working with family, if they ask for something, I direct them to other stores. My sister asked me for a light gold chain; I told her that I don’t have one! — Saro Abrahamian, Town Jewelers, Chevy Chase, MD
  • Working with family can be very challenging because the regular rules can’t always be applied. Remain calm and use this phrase: “Would you accept the same behavior you’re offering me?” — Stacey Horcher, I. Reiss, Lincolnwood, IL
  • Most days, it is a pleasure to have worked 55 years with family members. Scheduling is most challenging. — Eileen Eichhorn, Eichhorn Jewelry, Decatur, IN
  • My oldest son started working with me part-time this year to help while I have two staff on maternity leave. I had to twist his arm … hard. He thought working with his dad was a mistake. And he is a millennial. So far, not a single fight. He has brought some great ideas forward, gets along with all the other staff and is a very good salesperson. It helps he is super-smart. Takes after his Dad. — David Blitt, Troy Shoppe Jewellers, Calgary, AB

Is It Still Gold?

  • I find it interesting that the recent FTC rule allows gold as low as 1 karat to be called gold. I suppose it won’t be an across-the-board ruling, as in can you call a hot dog a steak if it has 4.6 percent sirloin in the contents? We as an industry need to begin to call out what “real jewelry” consists of. All personal adornments are not fine jewelry. — Murphy McMahon, Murphy McMahon & Co., Kalispell, MT

Done with Service

  • I’m ready to see a retailer revolution! I’m so tired of repairing/fitting/sizing jewelry and watches for people that buy online … especially from a designer/brand I carry. If you go directly to a watch brand and buy a timepiece from their website and then bring it to me to adjust the bracelet or strap just because I’m a dealer for them, I’m going to tell you to send it back to them to get fitted. And same with jewelry bought directly from a designer. Oh, you want that ring sized? NO! I’m done being a service center for these brands that sell directly to my customers. You want the sales, then you can handle the service, too. Plain and simple. — Marc Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX

More Haves, Fewer Have-Nots

  • It seems like the industry (and maybe society in general) continues to split into the “haves” and the “have-nots.” This is not healthy by any stretch. The excitement over lab-grown diamonds is in part that now retailers can now offer a diamond that was previously maybe only in the customer’s dreams, but with the much lower prices has become much more attainable. This causes the “haves and have-nots” divide to narrow. And if the prices on lab-growns continue to go down, it might just cause the divide to narrow further, with more consumers “having” diamonds. — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA
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Webinar Love, Holiday Cheer and More of Your Letters to the Editor

Jewelers seem cautiously optimistic for holiday sales.

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Holiday Cheer

We are excited about the holidays. Positive thoughts bring progress and change. It is only natural to grow. If you are not, find out what is causing you not to. — Bill Jones, Sissy’s Log Cabin, Pine Bluff, AR

Webinar Love

I wanted to drop a quick note to share how much I enjoyed the webinar, “How to Get Your Millennial Prospects to Buy (Again and Again).” Kathleen Cutler did a great job boiling things down to basics that made sense and are actionable by your average retailer. Congratulations and a heartfelt thank you to INSTORE for helping to nurture and guide the industry to capture more of our fair share of consumers’ disposable income. We will never build back this industry to the good ol’ days until we band together and worry not what our fellow jeweler is doing, but how we work together as an industry to attract buyers to the category.  — Kim E. Pelletier, IGC Brand Services, Chicago

Feeling Grateful

We’re hoping and expecting a wonderful Christmas. We are stocked to the gills. I am also very grateful for Jewelers Helping Jewelers on Facebook and the jewelers who are willing to help one another. — Rick Nichols, Nassau Jewelry, Fernandina Beach, FL

Cautious Optimism

I’d love to see a correction in the way consumers are buying right now. If we can end this year with traffic up, sales up and customers returning to some kind of normal buying habit, then I will feel great about going into 2020. I’m cautiously optimistic and think that buyers will come around this year because they’re tired of shopping online and want a personal experience. — Marc Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX

Women Lead the Way

Women jewelry designers are the wave of the future. They are bringing a fresh, unique and clean aesthetic to the world of jewelry. — Elizabeth Saba, Presley Co. Fine Jewelers, San Diego, CA

(We agree, Elizabeth. Keep an eye out for our “Future Is Female” issue in February. — Ed.).

Diamond Confusion

We expect further cuts to mined diamond prices. What’s tough to figure out is if that is an opportunity or a time to unload … challenging indeed. — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA

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Holiday Readiness, Lab-Grown Pricing and More of Your Letters

One reader says dealers need to chill out.

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Are You Ready For The Holidays?

  • Been ready. Need to salvage the year. Too much good merch sitting around. Need to close everybody. — Rick Nichols, Nassau Jewelry, Fernandina Beach, FL
  • Hoping for a real Christmas. The past years have been way more independent purchasing, with less intense holiday shopping. — Kelli Reinbold, Vernon Jewelers, Salina, KS
  • More than ever, we must be mindful of overbuying. It’s a very good idea to work out special memos with existing vendors, or at least very liberal stock balancing not necessarily tied to additional purchases. Small brick-and-mortar stores that pay their bills are in demand! — J. Dennis Petimezas, Watchmakers Diamonds & Jewelry, Johnstown, PA
  • 52nd Christmas in the trade. If I’m not ready now, I never will be. — Ira Kramer, The Diamond Exchange Of Maryland, Rockville, MD
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Time for an Adjustment

  • Can’t wait for lab-grown diamond prices to fall down to lab ruby, sapphire and emerald prices so we can stop the charade of having to explain the difference to consumers and why they are paying so much for a lab-grown diamond now. — Robert Borneman, Diamond Jewelers, Centereach, NY

Politics Shmolitics

  • Stop obsessing over politics and focus on our businesses. We can’t use the political climate as excuses for our shortcomings. In any time, some stores are thriving and others are dying. We control our own destinies. — Robert Mullen, Mullen Bros. Jewelers, Swanswa, MA

Break from the Norm

  • I always look forward to each month’s magazine. It’s a nice break from the store and news. Thanks, INSTORE! Tommy Thobe, The Village Gem, Perry Hall, MD
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