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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

Waiter Donates $200 to Jeweler’s Fundraiser, Wins Billionaire’s Heart, Gets Dream Job
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Waiter Donates $200 to Jeweler’s Fundraiser, Wins Billionaire’s Heart, Gets Dream Job

Video: This Saleswoman Remade Her Job … And Something Amazing Happened
Jimmy Degroot

Video: This Saleswoman Remade Her Job … And Something Amazing Happened

Video: An Instagram ‘Influencer’ Came to My Jewelry Store … And It Did Not Go Well
Cullen Wulf

Video: An Instagram ‘Influencer’ Came to My Jewelry Store … And It Did Not Go Well

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 76 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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It Was Hawaii Day at Gene the Jeweler’s Store … Or Was It?

In this episode of Jimmy DeGroot’s satirical Gene the Jeweler series, Gene learns that it was Hawaii Day at his store. At least that’s what his employee, Jeremy, says. But Jeremy’s answers aren’t quite adding up. It’s hard to say what this “Hawaii Day” was really all about.

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Your Letters On The INSTORE Design Awards, the Return to The Sands, and More

One reader doesn’t understand why we should worry clients returning lab-grown diamonds.

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On The Instore Design Awards

  • I was pleased to see our own Wichita lady, Debra Navarro, featured. We carry her work and have done several shows with her, and have been able to see her growth and just the guts and determination it takes to do this. — Robin Lies, Burnell’s Creative Gold, Wichita, KS
  • Loved the men’s jewelry winner [by Tavannes Watch Co.]! I always wanted to have a watch as a belt buckle. What an innovation for men … it will tell you it’s time to eat, but not to eat too much … then you’ll never be able to see what time it is. No big bellies here! — Bruce Goodheart, Goodheart Jewelry, Overland Park, KS
  • Enjoyed looking at the unique pieces of the INSTORE Design Awards. Gives me inspiration and ideas for clients. — Lyla Ismael, Lyla Jewelers, Oak Lawn, IL
  • Amazing to see new jewelry ideas in the INSTORE Design Awards. Such a great issue every year! — Jennifer Farnes, Revolution Jewelry Works, Colorado Springs, CO

You Bought It, You Keep It

Interesting discussions going on about lab-grown diamonds. One of the things talked about is what do you do when the customer brings it back to sell or trade and the prices have dropped on them. I’ve always thought, aside from standard 30-day returns or exchanges offered, why is it that a retail store is obligated in any way to take back merchandise that is used? How is it that somehow consumers feel that they can wear a piece for years and then just sell it back to stores? I realize that some in our industry thrive on buying back, but why should the store do the same when that is not their business model? Always puzzled me. — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA

Brilliant Move

Vegas was a nice boost to remind me how special our industry is. And the move of JCK/LUXURY back to The Sands convention center this year was brilliant. It’s a thousand times better! — Marc Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX

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Readers Sound Off On E-Commerce, Signet and Millennials

There’s hope in the form of Generation Z.

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Forward Revolution

The jewelry industry is undergoing significant changes because the concept of jewelry has changed. The very high-end luxury goods markets seem to be holding, but the squeezing of the middle class has changed disposable income. Who is buying the jewelry has changed as well. Self-purchasers prevail in this era of self (and selfie) celebration. These factors have evolved my purchasing and merchandising strategies. A pared-down inventory with only essential quick-sellers in understock coupled with targeted memo support is the new reality today for profitability. For their support, vendors must be viewed and treated as true business partners, not simply suppliers. This wasn’t how we did things in the past, but it has been instrumental in not just surviving but thriving. You adapt or die.

Podcast: This Diamond Heist Simply Didn’t Make the Grade
Over the Counter

Podcast: This Diamond Heist Simply Didn’t Make the Grade

Podcast: Doug Meadows Shares the Ups and Downs of His Life as a Jeweler
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Podcast: Doug Meadows Shares the Ups and Downs of His Life as a Jeweler

Podcast: Against the Odds, a High School Student Fights to Keep the Family Jewelry Store Alive
Over the Counter

Podcast: Against the Odds, a High School Student Fights to Keep the Family Jewelry Store Alive

E-commerce alone does not bring enough people through your door. We have found a way to give our clients the opportunity to do research on our website, narrow their selection and then come into our store for the final decision and purchase. We do this via our partnership with Stuller and the free addition of their online selling platform, which includes a cart system. It’s an easy addition to any website, it drives traffic to the store and it increases our online presence. — Jessica Rossomme, Mucklow’s Fine Jewelry, Peachtree City, GA

E-Futility

I have two stores; both have excellent web presence, nice SEOs, solid cost-per-click campaigns, display ad campaigns, and a nice social media following. Our websites show our inventory, which can be purchased online. We have included the e-commerce option in all of our advertising and marketing and even coded the site to offer sale discounts during events and holidays. All of this has been in place for six-plus months, and we are still yet to sell a single piece through the site. How about that! — Chad Elliott Coogan, Gems of La Costa, Carlsbad, CA

Hard to Keep Up

Trying to stay ahead of the many changes Google, Instagram and Facebook make after we have somewhat mastered their previous algorithms is a career in itself! Wish there were some Cliff Notes for us retailers! — Susan Eisen, Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry & Watches, El Paso, TX

Signet Silence

Why are we not talking about Signet and sexual assault? Talk about taking the glamour out of jewelry — or is this entire industry tone-deaf? — Alan Lindsay, Henry’s, Cape May, NJ

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Letters from Readers on Failure, Trade Shows and More

One reader advises making up for lost sales online with higher repair prices.

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On “The Failure Issue”

Chris Burslem’s article [“Epic Fail”] gives you a definite perspective. We’re all trying to become better jewelers. Sometimes having to throw the dice really works. — Bruce Goodheart, Burnells Creative Gold, Wichita, KS

It’s sitting right next to me here on my nightstand. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m looking forward to it. Though I’ve had so many epic fails over the past seven years that the lead story title is making my PTSD flare up and giving me little panic attacks. I’m laughing as I write this, but I’m actually serious. — Andrea Riso, Talisman Collection, El Dorado Hills, CA

Making Up for Lost Profits

I feel our industry should wake up and realize that the Internet is here to stay, and it is just another progression in how the customer prefers to shop. We used to have corner grocery stores and then supermarkets — now we just place an order and drive up for pickup or have them delivered.

Jewelry stores that offer sizing and jewelry repair need to recognize that this is a service that cannot be performed online (but that day may soon come). This is an extra value to the customer who buys online, and if we don’t make profit on the sale of an item, we should consider making up the difference on this value we bring to the customer along with the trust we can instill. I have been using David Geller’s Blue Book for quite some time and have had very few objections to his prices, including when I charge more because folks mention they bought online. — Bill Brundage, Bill Brundage Jewelers, Louisville, KY

Now’s the Time

The greatest time to grow is when everyone else is stagnant because they are worried about the economy. — Bill Jones, Sissy’s Log Cabin, Little Rock, AR

High Cost of Attendance

It was interesting to see that at Baselworld, the big news was the high cost of either going or exhibiting. With the Vegas show coming up and the ridiculous costs involved in attending, will people label the costs as “just not worth it”? — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA

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