By Michelle Graff
W. Kodak Jewelers advertises the type of gemstone grading reports it uses as a way of standing out, Brad Kodak says. The advertisement seen here is located on a bus stop shelter along Washington Street, the main drag of Hoboken, N.J.
Hoboken, N.J.--A retailer that’s been around since 1970s and is now two generations in, W. Kodak Jewelers is opening a second store, also located in the New Jersey city of Hoboken, which is right across the Hudson River from New York. 

Mostly shop-in-shops of brands including Breitling, TAG Heuer, Tacori and Roberto Coin make up the new store, located in in Maxwell Place, a high-end high-rise condominium building. 

Recently, Brad Kodak took the time to answer a few questions from National Jeweler about what it’s like to be an independent jeweler today. 

National Jeweler: Please tell us about your second store. 

Brad Kodak: Basically we have a branded boutique-style store in Hoboken and business is tremendous. We are now opening a second location--a flagship store at the famed Maxwell Place in Hoboken. This is a very luxurious, very high-end building and neighborhood with amazing demographics. The condos range (in price) from $1.2 million to $3-plus million and we would say the average age is approximately 37.

NJ: We spotted your advertisement on the main street (Washington Street) in Hoboken noting that you sell GIA-graded diamonds. Please tell us about the thought process behind creating this campaign. 

BK: Well ... I have not seen many jewelers advertise a specific lab report. So I think standing out is important. We also feel our client in Hoboken is of a high intellect and does some research of their own. In my opinion, GIA holds itself to the highest standard in terms of diamond reports, as we do in our way of running our business and the quality we sell compared to some competition in New York City.

NJ: What is the biggest challenge facing you as an independent jeweler today? 

BK: The biggest challenge facing the independent is to stand out from the Internet. Attention to quality and customer service are the ways to achieve this, and then your reputation grows as the place to buy from. Word-of-mouth referral is still the form of advertising, especially in luxury.

NJ: In which category (loose diamonds, bridal, colored gemstones, etc.) are your margins the most squeezed and how do you combat that?

BK: Loose diamonds are the tightest margin, but bridal including engagement can still be very profitable. We can’t give out all our secrets.

NJ: What is one thing people often are surprised to learn about you?

BK: How nice it can feel to buy from a trusted jeweler. We sell high-ticket items and if done with education and integrity, the client will come away from the experience enjoying it rather than (experiencing a) process filled with anxiety and uncertainty. 

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