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Editor's Note

When Writing the Big Survey, Our Team Questions Everything

And we throw out just as many questions as we keep.



YOU CAN’T LEARN if you don’t ask questions.

And after 15 years, we’ve asked a lot of questions in our annual Big Surveys … and learned even more. I hope that’s true for you as well.

What some may not realize is just how many questions we don’t ask. This year, we asked 95 questions, which makes this one of our biggest surveys ever. But we probably threw out just as many before our readers ever took the survey.

Narrowing the Big Survey down to a manageable number involves a lot of difficult decisions about what to cut and what to keep. (Not to mention that a 95-question survey barely qualifies to be described as “manageable.”) We want the survey to be incredibly informative so that you, our readers, can benchmark your own performance and plan for the future based on the results. We also want it to be entertaining, capturing the spirit of an industry made up mostly of independent retail store owners.


So, when crafting the survey, we debate internally. We ask our expert columnists for their opinions. And we look at your letters and comments from the past year to see what’s been on your mind the most.

For those who took the survey, I want to thank you profusely. These results wouldn’t mean anything without your participation. And for those who don’t like asking or answering questions … well, you’re probably not reading INSTORE! Enjoy and best wishes to everyone for a safe and happy holiday season!

When Writing the Big Survey, Our Team Questions Everything

Trace Shelton

Editor-in-Chief, INSTORE

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

  • Set up a selfie station in your store for the holidays. (Manager’s To-Do, p. 24)
  • Grow your own jeweler by hiring a young person as a polisher; send those who show aptitude and interest for more schooling. (Ask INSTORE, p. 64)
  • Ask suppliers to sponsor your team lunches during the holidays. (Megan Crabtree, p. 62)
  • Review sales-per-staff-member prior to the holidays; give your best salespeople more chances to shine. (David Brown, p. 63)
  • Promote financing by putting signs in your cases showing approximate monthly payments for a list of purchase prices. (Larry Johnson, p. 66)



Moving Up — Not Out — with Wilkerson

Trish Parks has always wanted to be in the jewelry business and that passion has fueled her success. The original Corinth Jewelers opened in the Mississippi town of the same name in 2007. This year, Parks moved her business from its original strip mall location to a 10,000-square foot standalone store. To make room for fresh, new merchandise, she asked Wilkerson to organize a moving sale. “What I remember most about the sale is the outpouring excitement and appreciation from our customers,” says Parks. Would she recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers? “I would recommend Wilkerson because they came in, did what they were supposed to and made us all comfortable. And we met our goals.”

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