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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)



When the Kids Have Their Own Careers, Wilkerson Can Help You to Retire

Alex and Gladys Rysman are the third generation to run Romm Jewelers in Brockton, Mass. And after many decades of service to the industry and their community, it was time to close the store and take advantage of some downtime. With three grown children who each had their own careers outside of the industry, they decided to call Wilkerson. Then, the Rysmans did what every jeweler should do: They called other retailers and asked about their own Wilkerson experience. “They all told us what a great experience it was and that’s what made us go with Wilkerson.” says Gladys Rysman. The results? Alex Rysman says he was impressed. “We exceeded whatever I expected to do by a large margin.”

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