By Ashley Davis
Pittsburgh--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.

To open Louis Anthony Jewelers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1990, Louis and Veronica sold Veronica’s wedding ring.

The sacrifice paid off.

As the company grew and thrived over the years, the business truly became a family affair, with Louis’s sister Andrea joining in 2001, followed by the Guarino’s three children, Amie, Lou III and Vanessa, in the years that followed.

Today, the store is 6,800 square feet and employs 14 people, a far cry from its humble beginnings.

Veronica Guarino shared the philosophy that’s kept their customers returning.

20170927 Penn insertfirstThe Guarinos opened Louis Anthony Jewelers in 1990. Today, they have a 6,800-square-foot store location with 14 employees.

National Jeweler: What’s the biggest challenge your store is facing today?

Veronica Guarino: There are so many more shopping choices today than when we opened in 1990. As a result, the biggest challenge that we face is staying relevant with merchandise, service and technology.

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

VG: Designer/fashion jewelry is the top-selling category. The top-selling brand is Rolex.

NJ: Describe your regional customer.

VG: Our regional customer is usually a self-employed entrepreneur. We also have a very strong self-purchasing female clientele.

NJ: What’s the most popular style of engagement ring with your clientele now?

VG: The most popular style is still the halo. This style has been holding the top position for several years.

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

VG: The most important social media accounts are Facebook and Instagram.

20170927 Penn insertHere, Louis and Veronica Guarino are pictured center. On the far left is Louis’s sister Andrea, with the Guarino’s daughter Vanessa seated next to her. On the right are the Guarino’s son Lou III and daughter Amie.
NJ: Do you have e-commerce?

VG: Yes.

NJ: What’s the best piece of advice you’d offer to a fellow independent jeweler?

VG: Remember people. Take notes, do name association or whatever it takes, but remember people.

Customers are flattered and feel comfortable when they walk into the store and are greeted by name. And even more so when you ask about their children, grandchildren, pets, vacations, etc.

The customer is first, the merchandise is second.

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

VG: The Louis Anthony team is a bunch of foodies, so a few years ago we created “Lunch Club.” If you join, you are required to make lunch for all of the members on the day you chose. All the members (which is pretty much everyone that works here) have experienced food they may never have had before. There are a lot of slow cookers flying around and it has become a great success!

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