By Ashley Davis
“The challenge we accept every day is giving every customer that walks in here a pleasant experience,” said Jackson Jewelers’ Vice President Paul Muffuletto. “We want to make them feel confident about why they come into our store and, that way, they trust who they’re buying from.”
Flowood, Miss.--In 50 Jewelers/50 States, National Jeweler interviews one retailer in each of the 50 U.S. states to find out how they are meeting the challenges of the changing retail environment.

For the father-and-son team behind Jackson Jewelers, located in Flowood, Mississippi, success begins with a positive attitude.

Ron Muffuletto is the owner of Jackson Jewelers; his son Paul is the vice president.

Paul Muffuletto spoke with National Jeweler about his store’s booming bridal business and the importance of relationships, including his relationship with his father.

20170722 Mississippi insert1Best friends Ron Muffuletto and John Winstead founded Jackson Jewelers in 1981. Winstead has since passed away and Muffuletto is the sole owner; his son Paul is the store’s vice president. The father-and-son team have five employees at their 3,500- square-foot store.
National Jeweler: What’s the biggest challenge your store is facing?

Paul Muffuletto: All of us as jewelers face many challenges, but for us at Jackson Jewelers, we take it upon ourselves to make sure we are great at the things we can control.

We challenge ourselves and our team to make sure we are able to accommodate each and every customer, and make sure he or she has the best experience possible. That is one of biggest reasons I feel we have had success in our business.

A lot of our business comes from referrals, so the way we treat our customers is really what makes us succeed above other jewelry stores.

We try to make a relationship with each and every customer who walks in here. After they make this purchase, we want them to come back for the next purchase. We want them to come back for the next occasion, for services, whether its watch repair, jewelry repair, appraisals--we want to be a one-stop shop.

NJ: What’s the top-selling category and brand at your store?

PM: Ours is by far bridal. Our top-seller in bridal is our custom work. We have our own Jackson Jewelers collection and we’re able to modify any of our designs. We can mix and match our designs and adjust them for our customers.

We also carry Allison-Kaufman. For wedding bands we carry Benchmark, which we do very well with.

NJ: Describe your regional customer.

PM: Our customer is all ages, but our biggest demographic right now is the 21- to 23-year-old college kid getting engaged.

We have second and third generation bridal customers, some who don’t even live in Mississippi, but will purchase engagement rings when they’re in town.

Our overall age range is mainly early 20s to 75.

Our customers are probably about 50/50 men and women. We encourage the ladies who come in to make a wish list. We do a lot with the wish lists. We get customers to pick out the items they like and then the husbands come in and choose something off that list--we try to make it easy for them.

A lot of the guys who come in are not wanting to shop all around town. We try to help by narrowing down the options.

Our store was in Jackson for almost 30 years before we moved to Flowood. Our customers are still in the Jackson area, and the suburbs like Madison and Flowood. We serve all over Mississippi. We have customers from all over the world, to be honest with you.

20170722 Mississippi insert2Ron Muffuletto (left), the owner of Jackson Jewelers, with son Paul
NJ: What’s the most popular style of engagement ring with your clientele now?

PM: We still do a lot with halos. We have a wide variety of different ways a customer can do a ring with the halo. We still do a lot with just the thin band with micro-pave set diamonds with a single solitaire on top. I think that’s something that will always be around.

We do a little bit of everything, including antique-style designs. But I think our biggest seller would be the classic solitaire with the pave-set diamonds and also the halo.

The round brilliant is probably our most popular selling diamond along with ovals, and our most popular metal is 14-karat white gold.

NJ: Which social media accounts are important to your business?

PM: Facebook. We try to post something on Facebook at least once a week. We pay for advertising on Facebook; it’s like a billboard for cheap is the way I see it. We’re able to get new customers just by them seeing it.

The new generation of customers gets their news and information from social media. We’ll post new arrivals, products that are just in. We post promotions and different things. A lot of our followers will see and they may add something to a wish list and send their husband in to the store buy it, or they may see something on Facebook and buy it for their wife. We try to post things as often as possible.

NJ: Do you have e-commerce?

PM: We don’t. We hope to start selling online in the next year or so. It is something that’s very important for us to get into. We also understand that if you’re going to do it then you want to have a top-notch site, not have any problems from the get-go.

It’s important to us because online is another avenue to increase your business.

NJ: What’s the best piece of advice you’d offer to other independent jewelry stores?

PM: I think the most important thing is being positive.

Every customer that walks into the store, that’s an opportunity to sell something, whether it’s something for $30,000 or $300. The whole idea is to turn them into a customer if they’re not a customer. Just be positive, take it one step at a time and do the best you can.

You can’t worry about what other people are doing, you can’t worry about what other businesses in town are doing. The whole idea is to make yourself successful and if you have slow days you try to change things to make sure you have busy days.

Do what you can do for your business versus worrying about what other people are doing.

NJ: What’s a fun fact about you we can share with our readers?

PM: The business is my dad’s business and we’re like best friends, we’re a team. People ask, “How’s it working for your dad?” I couldn’t want it any other way.

I think that’s one of the things that makes it enjoyable coming to work on a busy day, being busy working with your dad, and on a slow day you can just take it easy and enjoy being with your family.

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