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This Is Why Every Retail Jeweler Should Join INSTORE’s Brain Squad

Brain Squad members tell what it’s like to be part of “the squad.”

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Question:

What is it like to be part of INSTORE’s Brain Squad?

  • I love INSTORE Magazine and use it to keep up to date on our industry. I love the Manager’s To-Do List. It makes me feel special when I am in the magazine because I value what it offers to so many of us! — Karen Hollis, K. Hollis Jewelers, Batavia, IL
  • Big Brain? Frankly, I feel like an idiot for not becoming a member of the Squad a long time ago … — Melissa Quick, Steve Quick Jeweler, Chicago, IL
  • I’ve been quoted and in the magazine many times and even have been a Cool Store! It has all been an honor! — Kas Jacquot, Kas A Designs, Jefferson City, MO
  • I grow weary of the constant barrage of autograph seekers. Dark glasses ALL the time now. — Cliff Yankovich, Chimera Design, Lowell, MI
  • The one with the really big brain is the person at INSTORE who came up with this idea. — Bill Elliott, Ross Elliott Jewelers, Terre Haute, IN
  • I like seeing that I’m not here on the river rowing my boat alone. — Stew Brandt, H. Brandt Jewelers, Natick, MA
  • We began our business 21 years ago — about the same time as INSTORE. I feel like we’ve grown up together! Our staff gets a kick out of our “fame” in the magazine, and I think it helps legitimize our small business in a big pond. — Beth Cevasco, Scott’s Custom Jewelers, Dublin, OH
  • I enjoy reading them. It takes everyone to know what to do next. A giant group to help everyone survive. — Cathy Denney, Denney Jewelers, Springfield, IL
  • I feel like I’m helping the statistics be more accurate. I used to think my little store did not matter, but now I know it does! — Rick Sanders, Sanders Jewelers, Gainesville, FL
  • I’ve been a Brain since the very beginning! I feel proud to have my opinion counted. I’ve been quoted a number of times over the years and it’s SO COOL! — Janne Etz, Contemporary Concepts, Cocoa, FL
  • I enjoy it and like to feel like I contribute to the overall feel of the industry for others. I like the fact smaller town jewelers like myself can have their voice heard. Some other publications seem to be focused on the chains and larger operations. — Tom R. Nelson, Nelson Jewelry, Spencer, IA
  • When I read Brain Squad quotes from other jewelers, I feel connected, not isolated. I’m part of a community ,and I can learn what is or is not working for other jewelers. — Theresa Peregoy, Classic Facets, Edgewater, CO
  • Has been very informative and interesting to see the trends from across the country, as well as how we’re stacking up to folks in our geographic area. — Roger Pauling, Lapidary Arts Custom Jewelry, Plano, TX
  • I like the monthly process of answering the quiz. It gives me a moment to stop and think about these business issues. I also make it a practice to have my bank reconciliation done before the quiz comes out so I know where we stand! I like contributing to the industry with my answers, but I must say I feel like I get back so much from the other retailers. I’m grateful for this forum and for INSTORE! As a newer retailer, I have learned so much!! Thank you. — Ellie Thompson, Ellie Thompson + Co., Chicago, IL
  • It feels good when I read something that I responded to. Maybe other jewelers will see something from my perspective. — Tommy Thobe, The Village Gem, Perry Hall, MD
  • Keeps me current on trends in the industry and fun to share with industry friends. — Laura Mease, Measetique Jewels, Shawnee, KS
  • It’s been fun to be a part of a community and hear how everyone else approaches different sales and marketing strategies, as well as business dos and don’ts. — Rebecca Larson, Barry Peterson Jewelers, Ketchum, ID
  • I love to read the answers of what’s selling. It gives a good idea of what vendors I need to look at. — Karla Doolittle, Mark Jewellers, La Crosse, WI
  • It’s just fun and rewarding. I like to share what we have learned. It has always felt like we are part of a much bigger team. Sooooooo thank you INSTORE 🥰. — Sherrie Schilling-Devaney, Sherrie’s Jewelry Box, Tigard, OR
  • I always find it flattering that my comments get published. It’s almost like my 15 minutes of fame. — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA
  • I love reading the quotes from other store and area of the country and it is reassuring to have my quotes printed periodically. — Donnie Blanton, Brittany’s Fine Jewelry, Gainesville, FL
  • I am deeply humbled when my contribution to our community is committed to print in INSTORE. My sincere thanks to Trace, Ralf, Chris, Eileen and especially David for creating a current cutting-edge jewelry industry publication. It was INSTORE Magazine that created the present day “show” culture. Their ability to add transparency to show mentality and defining sales dynamics created a new wave of educated jewelry buyers. Then the actual INSTORE SMART Show revolutionized that out-of-the-box format of the magazine and created the buying and educational footprint for the modernized conventions we see today. On a personal note, as a first-generation jeweler, I am grateful for the thousands of questions that have been answered. That information, along with a mountain of inspiration, has elicited fresh ideas, reinforced standard basics, and led to better advertising/media presence. We have come to expect that and so much more from INSTORE. — Denise Oros, Linnea Jewelers, La Grange, IL
  • I love seeing my quotes in a national publication. Just thinking that a small-town guy being seen by everyone is very exciting, especially when my views don’t always go along with all the big guys who think they know all. — Craig C. Curtis, Belfast Jewelry, Belfast, ME
  • It has been a big part of our growth over the past 20 years. We were just getting ready to open up our first free-standing store and hoping to break $500,000 that year. We opened the week of September 11th, 2001, and I truly don’t know if we would have made it through without all the help that we have received from some of the greatest in the industry. Now we are working on our third location and look forward to where the next 20 years will take us! — Joel Wiland, J. David’s Jewelry, Broken Arrow, OK
  • It is always fun to see your name in a magazine, but the real gift is the quality of your publication and its informational value to our organization! Thank you! — Steven Wardle, Forest Beach Design, Chatham, MA
  • I love it when you guys quote me! I always learn a lot from reading what other people think … kind of like what we get at an IJO team clinic! — W.J. Smith III, Smith Jewelers, Franklin, VA
  • It helps to build a sense of community within our industry! It’s really fun to see quotes by jewelers that I know and love … and to learn the opinion and perception of others. It allows us to feel like part of a family! — Daniela Balzano, Water Street Jewelers, Guilford, CT
  • It’s nice to be quoted! Seeing your name in Instore makes you feel like you’ve arrived and been accepted by your peers! — Mary Jo Chanski, Hannoush Jewelers, Rutland, VT
  • It forces me to look at numbers in a slightly different way. I learn more about my business with every survey. — Bill Archinal, Barnes Jewelry, Amarillo, TX
  • It’s a great asset to read about the way other jewelers operate. There are a lot of great ideas shared by the Brain Squad. — Eric Stevens, Stevens Diamond Jewelers, West Springfield, MA
  • Being part of the Brain Squad has been fun and an honor. I really like sharing ideas and seeing what other stores are doing. — Tim Bodis, Diamond Designs by Bodis, Rice Lake, WI
  • The Brain Squad helped me see where I stood compared to others. This was a great guide as to products I should look at carrying in my store as well as not feeling bad when times were tougher as we were all in the same boat. Great insight and thank you INSTORE for keeping up with the brains! — Amber Gustafson, Amber’s Designs, Katy, TX
  • It’s been exciting to be a part of an industry where we can share information and learn from others. The magazine has done a great job of making us think and learn sometimes out of our comfort zones. Thanks and congratulations on 20 years. — Frank Salinardi, Linardi’s Jewelers, Plantation, FL
  • I love the jewelry industry and I am proud to be a contributing member as we all continue to learn and grow. — Tracy Gibson, Studio D Jewelers, Woodstock, IL
  • It is awesome that you give voice to the independent jeweler! — Tom Duma, Thom Duma Fine Jewelers, Warren, OH
  • Love it! I love seeing my old picture; when you use it, it makes me feel younger. Thanks for the new T-shirt by the way! I read the mag every month online and again in hard copy. I tear out pages and use them for store meetings! Love you guys. — Alan Perry, Perry’s Emporium, Wilmington, NC
  • Being on the Brain Squad helps us keep up with what is trending both in our store and in other stores. — Dorothy Vodicka, The Gem Collection, Tallahassee, FL
  • I love being part of the Brain Squad as it gives me time to sit back and reflect about things that I may not take the time to do normally. Additionally, I have found it very helpful reading other jewelers’ answers. They have given me ideas, and I love reading when we all seem to be enjoying collective successes! — Patty Gallun Hansen, Dorothy Gallun Jewelry, Cedarburg, WI
  • It feels great being recognized and quoted in a magazine that has become the standard in our industry. — Dale Robertson, Dale Robertson Jewelry, Loveland, OH
  • I’ve loved my short time contributing to the Brain Squad. And, even more so, I’ve loved learning from like-minded experts and leaders in this industry. — Bethany Swoveland, Design House Jewelry Studio, Waco, TX
  • Very exciting to be quoted in the magazine … it’s my 15 minutes of FAME! — Christine Graichen, Malloves Jewelers, Middletown, CT
  • I just do it so you will have some input from something other than multimillion dollar outfits. Someone has to speak for the “mom and pops.” — Mark Thomas Ruby, SunSpirit Designs, Loveland, CA
  • I love being part of the Brain Squad. My employees ask every month when it is coming in and they want to be a part of answering the questions and giving the percentages up or down in sales (they try extra hard not to be down in sales). — Tim Sherrer, Lou’s Jewelry, Mobile, AL
  • I have grown to really appreciate INSTORE and enjoy being a small part of what makes it valuable to retailers. — Don Bullock, Bullock’s Jewelry, Roswell, NM
  • Being part of the Brain Squad is a great way to spread your little success that may spark a fellow jeweler to do something great by improving on your idea. — Christopher Sarich, Noah Gabriel & Co. Jewelers, Wexford, PA
  • It’s great to be a small part of getting important information out to other jewelers and to share new ideas! — Cathy Calhoun, Calhoun Jewelers, Royersford, PA
  • I like to give my opinion and read others as well. Even though we’re all in the same industry there are many facets to this business. Lots of different experiences being had out there, and I think it’s fun/helpful to read about what others are going through and talking about mine as well. It’s kind of therapeutic. — Marc Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX
  • It’s awesome and a privilege. I feel as if I am providing back to the individuals in the jewelry community that have given me so much. We are here to help each other! — Trevor Williams, Leitzel’s Jewelry, Myerstown, PA
  • I have been part of the Brain Squad since the beginning. I enjoy seeing what others do and doing my part to give quality information. — Rich Bennett, P.K. Bennett Jewelers, Mundelein, IL
  • It is a lot of fun and makes you think of things for the near past and the distant past. This is a very good thing indeed. — James Doggett, Doggett Jewelry, Kingston, NH
  • It means a lot to me to be part of this group. I feel like INSTORE was my best jewelry retailer training resource and it remains so. I love reading the magazine, and the staffers in my store who read it excel, as opposed to the ones who don’t read it — they don’t do so well. — Andrea Riso, Talisman Collection, El Dorado Hills, CA
  • I like the T-shirt. — Klaus Kutter, A Jour Inc., Bristol, RI
  • It’s great to know someone cares and listens. — Dave Fadel, Fadel Enterprises, Bountiful, UT
  • It has been an honor! I always check to see if I’ve been quoted and the whole staff teases me about it. It is always good to feel that you are heard and that your “sage” advice may be useful to others. — Jon Walp, Long Jewelers, Virginia Beach, VA
  • We have kept every issue of your magazine for the past 20 years. — Barry Fixler, Barry’s Estate Jewelry, Bardonia, NY
  • I feel that INSTORE is on the pulse of retail jewelers. The Brain Squad make me feel like I am helping other jewelers, which I like. — Lee Krombholz, Krombholz Jewelers, Cincinnati, OH
  • I think it is important to hear what other people do. You can either take an idea and implement it or make it better! — Stephenie Bjorkman, Sami Fine Jewelry, Fountain Hills, AZ
  • 45-plus years on the bench in my own isolated store with no previous real experience gives me an interesting perspective. Nice to see that I figured it out. An occasional quote feels nice. — Jim Saylor, Jim Saylor Jewelers, Kapaa, HI
  • I love it!! My mom and my sister see me in there. I like contributing, and one dealer even asked me if I would mention them. — Rick Nichols, Nassau Jewelry, Fernandina Beach, FL
  • We aren’t a big shiny store; we are a country studio. We love color stones, don’t care to push diamonds. We feel very unique and individual, yet consistently every month we are in the majority on nearly every question asked. If most other folks are doing what we are doing, and we are successful, then we are on track for a great future. — Jo Goralski, The Jewelry Mechanic, Oconomowoc, WI
  • I love being quoted! Total ego boost. — Peter Tims, White Mountain Jewelers, Show Low, AZ
  • It’s really wonderful to get to be a part of helping the independent jeweler community. I’ve been able to utilize some wonderful advice from some of the more experienced Brain Squad, and on the flip side have gotten to share my own experiences as a younger woman in the industry. — Becky Bettencourt, Blue River Diamonds, Peabody, MA
  • It’s a fantastic feeling to see your name in print! I’ve had several people in the industry call, text and email to tell me they saw my name or quote. — Jeremy Auslander, Roxbury Jewelry, Los Angeles, CA
  • It is both fun and informative to share with other jewelers, and it makes us feel special! — Annette Kinzie, Leonard Jewelry, Stillwater, OK
  • It’s always fun when friends call to say that they saw my name in INSTORE. Thank you for being a real part of the jewelry industry. — Dianna Rae High, Dianna Rae Jewelry, Lafayette, LA
  • I finally have my 15 seconds of fame and then another 15 seconds and another 15 seconds. And as long as I contribute, I have another chance. I will be famous someday. It’s fun and great to be heard. — David Blitt, Troy Shoppe Jewellers, Calgary, AB
  • I enjoy doing the survey. I believe that it is important to get different takes on the industry and to see how other jewelers are doing. — Mark Goodman, Goodman Jewelers of Abingdon, Abingdon, VA
  • I like to hear what other people are saying and compare it to my experience. I love the quotes and to hear their comments. We are all in this together, and as much as we are different, we are the same. Sharing knowledge and comments is a real plus, and we are so happy that INSTORE has been around for so long! Keep up the good work! — Susan Eisen, Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry & Watches, El Paso, TX
  • Being a member of the Brain Squad has been a great opportunity to get our story seen/heard by our peers. The added plus is wearing the Brain Squad T-shirt … it ALWAYS gets a “You’re a member of the Brain Squad? How funny!” — Joe Caron, Caron’s Jewelry, Bristol, RI
  • Have always enjoyed the magazine. I felt it would be successful from first edition I received. After almost half a century in “the business,” I’ve seen them all come and I’ve seen them all go … and from the get-go, I knew this was going to be a relevant publication for the “little guy.” — J. Dennis Petimezas, Watchmakers Diamonds & Jewelry, Johnstown, PA
  • Makes feel famous! Keep up the good job. — Connie Stager, Acori Diamonds & Design, Friendswood, TX
  • Love the caricatures! It makes me feel like a playa. — Steven B. Goldfarb, Alvin Goldfarb Jeweler, Bellevue, WA
  • It’s always good to see your name in the “bright lights,” LOL. Also always good to participate and then see what other jewelers think. — Joe Thacker, Thacker Jewelry, Lubbock, TX

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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