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On Uninvited Sales Reps, Lab-Grown Diamonds, Vendor Betrayal and More of Your Letters from October

See what our readers had to say this month.

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Hating Drop-Ins

Sales reps showing up at your store without a phone call or email sent announcing their plans to stop by is unacceptable. I have all respect for traveling salesmen, but this method of just dropping in will do nothing but get you sent right out. What would happen if I showed up at one of my customer’s offices unannounced with a briefcase full of merchandise and expected them to stop what they were doing? They would tell me to get out and not come back. There’s no difference. If traveling sales reps want retailers to respect them, then they need to respect retailers. — Marc Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX

Podcast: After Tragedy, One Young Woman Turns Her Grief Into Beauty
Over the Counter

Podcast: After Tragedy, One Young Woman Turns Her Grief Into Beauty

Podcast: Jenny O Calleri Takes on Her Biggest Challenge Yet — Store Ownership
The Barb Wire

Podcast: Jenny O Calleri Takes on Her Biggest Challenge Yet — Store Ownership

Podcast: How Tracking Door Traffic Can Dramatically Boost Your Store’s Performance
JimmyCast

Podcast: How Tracking Door Traffic Can Dramatically Boost Your Store’s Performance

Deep Value Naturally

After recently reading a blog from a well-known lab-grown diamond producer about diamond formation, I would agree about one thing. Given the right conditions and sufficient flux of nutrient carbon, natural occurring diamonds can grow to gemological size in hours or days, faster than the lab processes. They are incorrect to say that natural diamonds grow in hours based on the rates of in-lab growth, because both rely on a sufficient flux of carbon. In the earth’s mantle, carbon is present at part per million levels, and it may take eons for sufficient carbon to diffuse to a site of crystallization to form a natural occurring gemological diamond. — Randy Stricklin, GIA GG, Oklahoma City, OK

Time To Go Solo

After 45 years in the ever-changing jewelry business and after spending the last 25 years running and owning my own store, it’s time to go solo and open a design studio. Thank you for the article in a past issue about others going solo — the timing could not have been better! Looking forward to the next chapter, or should I say, next jewel in my crown! — Frank Salinardi, Linardi’s Jewelers, Plantation, FL

Fuzzy Math

As things have slowed down in a lot of stores, wholesalers are tempted to go direct in the hunt for a retail sale. What they don’t seem to take into consideration is that when a store does business with them, that store represents approximately 30 people who have an interest in their product. So when a vendor bypasses that connection, they might pick up a couple of sales, but in reality they lose that 30 (or more) from the store. — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA

Things Change

I’ve had the great fortune of owning my store for 35 years. Things have constantly changed, but the rate of change accelerated since the advent of the Internet and social media. Thanks for supplying the necessary information to consider ways we can all adapt. Keep encouraging us to excel in all phases of our industry. — Ernie Cummings, Kizer Cummings Jewelers, Lawrence, KS

Be Honest

Synthetic diamonds will surely find their place in the market, as have manmade rubies, emeralds and others. Allowing consumers to have choices is what retailing is about, but the bad actors are going to seize the day and will use this opportunity to cheat honest, hard-working people in all aspects of our industry. — Robert Borneman, Diamond Jewelers, Centereach, NY

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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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Fire Drill Feedback, Case Cleaning Results and More of Your Letters

One jeweler got taken for a ride by a client.

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Firing Clarified

The questions asked in your “Fire Drill” section are all isolated circumstances. Generally, if someone is doing wrong in one area, chances are they are up to no good elsewhere. In all situations, you need all of the evidence to terminate. Any of those could be the final excuse to take action, but alone, a termination could create even bigger problems. — Jon Walp, Long Jewelers, Virginia Beach, VA

Podcast: After Tragedy, One Young Woman Turns Her Grief Into Beauty
Over the Counter

Podcast: After Tragedy, One Young Woman Turns Her Grief Into Beauty

Podcast: Jenny O Calleri Takes on Her Biggest Challenge Yet — Store Ownership
The Barb Wire

Podcast: Jenny O Calleri Takes on Her Biggest Challenge Yet — Store Ownership

Podcast: How Tracking Door Traffic Can Dramatically Boost Your Store’s Performance
JimmyCast

Podcast: How Tracking Door Traffic Can Dramatically Boost Your Store’s Performance

Case Cleaned

I actually took the advice of columnist Sherry Smith and “cleaned up my jammed case” today and wow! What a difference it made to back-stock many of our alloy samples! — Jane Johnson, RM Johnson & Sons, Salem, VA

Ring Regrets

I learned a lesson the very hard and expensive way and it sucks because now I don’t trust anyone. I had a customer come in several times to look at diamonds, and when he finally picked one out, he sent his girlfriend in to stamp her seal of approval. We then had a custom ring designed through CAD, which they both loved, and he told me, “We must proceed.” I always take down payments on custom jobs, but this guy was out of town a lot for work and wouldn’t be back for weeks, and he also made it clear he wanted this done ASAP. I went ahead and approved the job, trusting his word that he’d be in within two weeks to pay for it. Well … the ring is ready and he says he’s not picking up until mid-October now. I told him that’s not how I usually do business on custom jobs and that I needed a down payment from him. He got angry and went radio silent for a week. He did call last week to find a solution to the problem after I sent him a lengthy email on why I am confused and disappointed with his approach to the custom-made ring for him. I missed his call and now have called him back twice with no answer and no call back. Guess this beautiful custom-made ring will go out in my showcase and find a new home with someone else. I also had no intentions of spending that kind of money on a project for stock. Live and you learn. — Marc Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX

Safety First

Regardless of how you feel about the gun issue, the debate certainly does not help the jewelry business. After all, in order for people to buy and wear jewelry, they need to feel safe in doing so. I would urge our industry to be cautious about working to make people feel safe if they care about the business. Sometimes difficult since some feel safe around guns and others don’t, but either way, it affects our retail sales. — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA

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Readers’ Thoughts on America’s Coolest Stores and More Letters to the Editor

Most love it, but one said “cool smool.”

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On “America’s Coolest Stores”

  • Just love seeing the photos and hearing about the originality of each store. It shows that there are so many different ways to run a store. Stay true to yourself and your visions. — Robin Lies, Burnell’s Creative Gold, Wichita, KS
  • Love seeing the Cool Stores for inspiration. — Annette Kinzie, Leonard Jewelry, Stillwater, OK
  • I have two stores in Southern California. I love them both. They are each unique. I would, however, happily trade them both for one really cool store. I’ll keep you posted. — Chad Elliott Coogan, Gems Of La Costa, Carlsbad, CA
  • Jewelry is art. Cool smool. Someone from my small town was in your magazine. Ultimately my box is overflowing year round, so if you’re “cool,” more power to you and I’ll keep truckin’. — Rick Nichols, Nassau Jewelry, Fernandina Beach, FL

Keepin’ It Real

  • Just a quick note to say that I loved your July cover photo! Less about the jewelry the model is wearing, but more about how she looks and is dressed like a regular woman. Well done, INSTORE! — Lisa Malbranck, Diamond Gallery, Winnipeg, MB

Notice Would Be Nice

  • What are we to do when our vendors, many of whom we have worked with for many years, start selling online? Many times without telling us of their plan to do so. Sometimes we find out from customers, or an ad will pop up on Google. — Meg Rankin, J. Rankin Jewellers, Edmonds, WA

Rushing to Read

  • When INSTORE shows up every month, it’s first-come, first-served — everyone reads it front to back. Great publication. I used to be a Brain Squad member and fell off; glad I can get back on! — Tom Nelson, Nelson Jewelry, Spencer, IA

Advice for the Fam

  • I wouldn’t know where to start if it weren’t for your magazine. Now that my son and I have family helpers in the store, I require them to read INSTORE cover-to-cover for planning, preparing and for generating/trying new ideas. Thank you! — Jill Keith, Enchanted Jewelry, Danielson, CT
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