Independents

About Retail: Surviving a Century

IndependentsOct 28, 2016

About Retail: Surviving a Century

A 100th anniversary is not a milestone many retailers reach, making it certainly something worth celebrating. National Jeweler recently talked to three jewelers who will mark a century in business this year to learn more about the keys to success and what they’re doing to keep going. 

New York--When one thinks of all the major events of the last 100 years, it makes a store’s survival through all the ups and down--two world wars, the Great Depression, the recent recession and everything in between--even more impressive.

And while it’s likely that any of those who can boast 100 years in existence would say that it was by no means easy, what emerges from that history is a wealth of valuable lessons learned.

From left, Jeff Corey, Kathy Corey and David Davidson, the original founder of Day’s, in 1988, when the Coreys purchased the Day’s Corporation from the Davidson family.
From left, Jeff Corey, Kathy Corey and David Davidson, the original founder of Day’s, in 1988, when the Coreys purchased the Day’s Corporation from the Davidson family.

National Jeweler recently spoke with three jewelers whose stores are marking 100 (or more) years in business in 2014 to get an idea of how they made it through a century and what they would tell other jewelers looking to do the same.

Creating a community 
Rather than referring to a store or a number of stores, Jeff Corey of Day’s Jewelers talks about it as an “organization,” with a unifying set of core values that work to build a company “that stands the test of time.”

Day’s was originally founded in 1914 as a small pawn shop in Portland, Maine by Captain Harry Davidson, who had to leave life at sea due to illness. He was joined in time by his three sons, and over the years the family established 21 stores across New England.

In 1988, the remaining owners of Day’s, Sidney and David Davidson, decided to sell the business, to current owners Jeff, Jim, and Kathy Corey, and Mark Ford. Jeff and Jim’s father had worked for the Davidsons before, and had taught his children the Day’s culture and values.

Today, Day’s operates six stores throughout New England, where they combine the skills and knowledge that have been part of Day’s since the start with modern technology.

The ideals that the company teaches to employees include providing everyone with the opportunity to own fine jewelry through a range of products and price ranges, providing the best value in both goods and services, and viewing customers’ jewelry beyond just monetary value, taking into account sentimental value, Corey says.

To ensure a lasting future, the company is also adapting to the world of technology, including a focus on its website, which features thousands of items and is updated regularly to remove those that are no longer available.

Day’s is also creating a company environment that gives a voice to all its employees.

“We’re a company that trusts people,” Corey says. “Our employees are given the authority to make their own decisions across the company. If we’re going to be successful, we need to find a way to tap into the mind of every individual in our company, and that’s not always an easy task. Mistakes are made, and we use that as part of the learning process.”

Building on the past 
Samuel Gordon Jewelers in Oklahoma City, Okla. took a chance in 1990 when it consolidated its three existing locations into one 12,000-square-foot “superstore,” as CEO Gary Gordon refers to it. 

The company quickly benefited from the wide selection that could be presented to customers, as well as the ability of leadership to always be on-site and available, leading the store into a new era.

Founded in 1904 and celebrating 110 years in business this year, the jeweler is now under control of the third generation of Gordons.

“Throughout all of it, the reason we’re still going is that we’ve always had great watches to sell,” Gordon says. “There wouldn’t be a store today without watches. The bridal department is physically the largest in our store now and we’ve built a background in diamonds and engagement rings, and the watch department is not quite as important as it used to be, but it more than made up for it in the past.”

With all the personal technology that many consumers may use to keep track of time these days, watches have “take on another life,” Gordon says, noting that many of the people he sells to now are wearing them to express their style or make a fashion statement.

The company developed a plan some 10 years ago to promote more aggressively, including advertising at bridal events.

Gordon notes that they also focus on a “healthy mix” of advertising and promotions on their social media accounts, including Facebook and Twitter, as well as classic advertising in the newspaper, on billboards and on television.

“We’ve enjoyed modest growth every year since the recession,” Gordon says. “We are very careful and mindful of having the right lines for our customers. We have highly trained sales people and we try to keep everybody fresh on industry news.”

When looking back at his experience and what he’s learned, Gordon says, “My advice to any retailer is this: Take care of your customers, your employees, your vendors and yourself, and everything else will pretty much fall into place.”

All in the family 
Newton’s Jewelers in Fort Smith, Ark., has seen three generations of the Newton family at the helm, and is still managed by the same set of core values with which it was started.

Founded by George Newton in 1914, the store continued on through Bill Newton and Kelly Newton, who currently runs it.

“We always maintained high quality and honesty,” Newton says. “My grandfather was a stickler for telling the truth, and it stuck. That’s how he made everyone run the business.”

Newton adds that one of the major changes the store has seen over time is that they depend more on the volume of sales rather than on pieces generating higher profit these days.

Just as is the case with Samuel Gordon Jewelers, the engagement ring business is a large part of the store’s business. Newton adds that Rolex watches have been extremely important for the company throughout its history and remain strong sellers.

Newton’s Jewelers has begun putting more emphasis on social media. While they still do traditional ads, they’ve trimmed the budget in that area and it’s had little effect on sales, according to Newton.

The advent of technology and the new platforms that are available to jewelers has made the industry vastly different from what it was when the store was founded. But by embracing the changes the company has been able to navigate the years successfully.

“Nothing replaces hard work,” Newton says. “You have to work hard because this business is ever-changing. You have to be smart, work hard and stay open to change and suggestions. And most of all stay true to the philosophy of the business. You have to decide up front what that will be and stick with it.” 
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

The Latest

MajorsNov 29, 2022
LVMH Acquires Jewelry Manufacturer Pedemonte Group

The strategic acquisition will bolster the luxury titan’s production capacity in its watch and jewelry division.

CollectionsNov 29, 2022
Alex and Ani Founder Carolyn Rafaelian Has Launched a Fine Jewelry Line

The new brand, Metal Alchemist, focuses on unisex, classic jewelry designs.

CollectionsNov 29, 2022
Gabriel & Co.’s ‘Fashion Book’ Is Out

Not a catalog, the magazine is a tool for Gabriel & Co. retailers to connect with their customers.

Brought to you by
Knowledge and Skills for Today’s Hot Topics

From laboratory-grown diamonds to design to country-of-origin, GIA's Alumni Collective™ has a seminar to suite your needs.

MajorsNov 29, 2022
Claire’s to Open Shop-in-Shops in Select U.S. Macy’s Stores

The partnership brings Claire’s jewelry and accessories to 20 Macy’s locations in time for the holiday season.

Weekly QuizNov 18, 2022
This Week’s Quiz
Test your knowledge of the latest jewelry news with this quick test.
Take the Quiz
MajorsNov 28, 2022
Pomellato’s New Videos Raise Awareness of Violence Against Women

Starring CEO Sabina Belli and other celebrities, the videos emphasize the importance of supporting women who have experienced abuse.

Events & AwardsNov 28, 2022
Registration Is Open for AGA’s Annual Tucson Conference

Scheduled for Feb. 1, the event will feature six gemological education presentations and three hands-on sessions.

Brought to you by
Diamond Shoppers’ 2022 Holiday Wish List

Give your customers the best diamond buying experience this holiday season.

MajorsNov 28, 2022
The Kingswood Co. Is One of U.S.’s Fastest-Growing Companies Again

The jewelry cleaner manufacturer jumped up to No. 3066 on the Inc. 5000 list.

AuctionsNov 23, 2022
This Sapphire Tiara Once Owned by a Danish Princess Is Going to Auction

The Dec. 1 jewelry sale at Bonhams-owned Bruun Rasmussen will have several other pieces of royal jewelry on the block.

FinancialsNov 23, 2022
Movado Lowers Guidance Amid ‘Uncertain’ Retail Environment

Its Q3 sales dipped as inflation took its toll on shoppers in the U.S. and Europe.

MajorsNov 23, 2022
De Beers Jewellers Is Popping Up in Connecticut

The temporary store is the result of a collaboration with Betteridge.

CollectionsNov 23, 2022
Piece of the Week: Rembrandt’s Turkey Charm

Charm fans will gobble up this festive “Piece of the Week” pick.

AuctionsNov 22, 2022
Jewelry Recovered from Sunken ‘Ship of Gold’ Heads to Auction

The S.S. Central America sank in 1857 off the coast of South Carolina, carrying tons of gold from the California Gold Rush.

IndependentsNov 22, 2022
See the Greek Jewels Going to Auction for Charity

Several Greek jewelry designers have donated pieces to the annual Hellenic Initiative silent auction.

Events & AwardsNov 22, 2022
Hodinkee to Receive Gem Award for Watch Excellence

Plus, see this year’s list of nominees for the Jewelry Design, Media Excellence, and Retail Excellence awards.

SourcingNov 22, 2022
Head of Australian Miner Burgundy Diamond Resigns

The company announced the resignation of Peter Ravenscroft late last week, effective immediately.

SourcingNov 21, 2022
Provenance Proof Launches Online Marketplace for Traceable Gems

Debuting today, it is open to Provenance Proof blockchain users.

TechnologyNov 21, 2022
Version 2.0 of the NDC’s ‘Assure’ Directory Is Now Live

Assure is the program the Natural Diamond Council launched in 2019 to test lab-grown diamond screening devices.

MajorsNov 21, 2022
JK Findings Acquires Intercept Silver & Jewelry Care

Intercept Silver & Jewelry Care distributes anti-corrosion and anti-tarnish products.

MajorsNov 21, 2022
David Yurman Just Opened a Palm Beach Outpost

It’s located on famed shopping street Worth Avenue.

EditorsNov 18, 2022
9 of My Favorite Pieces from the AGTA Spectrum Awards Editors’ Day

Senior Editor Brecken Branstrator’s highlights include a chrome tourmaline ring, a giant opal necklace, and an American mined stone.

CrimeNov 18, 2022
Jewelry Store Security Guard Killed in Armed Robbery

Police in Calumet City, Illinois are looking for several suspects involved in the robbery of a jewelry store in the River Oaks Mall.

MajorsNov 18, 2022
AGS Adds Sumit Dangi to Board of Directors

Dangi is global chief financial officer and treasurer at Jewelers Mutual Group.

CollectionsNov 18, 2022
Piece of the Week: Tabayer’s ‘Oera’ Pendant

The brand’s signature shape is rendered in an autumn-appropriate color palette.

GradingNov 17, 2022
GIA Labs Report Receiving 2 Moissanites Submitted as Diamonds

The discoveries were outlined in the Lab Notes section of the fall 2022 issue of Gems & Gemology.

MajorsNov 17, 2022
Boucheron’s Magical Holiday Campaign Has Landed

“Boucheron Wonderland” showcases best-selling styles, high jewelry, and some familiar faces.

×

This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy