In the fifth and final week of Christmas Countdown, seasonal contest winners are announced and two jewelry store owners rebound after burglars try to pull a Grinch on their holiday plans. Most notably, a selfless gesture by a stranger for one Florida jeweler reminds us all why Christmas is such a special time of the year.
When random acts of kindness go from being a catchy slogan on a bumper sticker to a selfless act witnessed in a jewelry store, it reminds us all of the real miracles that happen during the holiday season. One such random act happened last week at Underwood Jewelers in Jacksonville, Fla. A hardworking young man of modest means was in the store looking at jewelry to give to his girlfriend living in California. Even though her friends chipped in to cover the cost of his airline ticket as part of a surprise Christmas visit, he still needed more money for a down payment on a piece of jewelry to give his girlfriend for Christmas. His first choices were beyond his means, so he decided on a $500 David Yurman sterling silver bracelet. After giving the sales associate a $200 down payment, the young man completed the store’s financial forms to pay off the $300 balance. An Underwood’s customer of many years overheard the young man’s story. Touched by his determination and passion to find the right gift for a special occasion, the customer paid the $300 balance on his account shortly after the man left the store. When he retuned the next day to pick up his wrapped gift on the way to the airport, Underwood’s employees were pleased to tell him a customer had paid the outstanding balance. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the store,” says Denise Chislett, Underwood’s marketing director.
The average Elf on the Shelf has a tough job: filtering through children’s many wishes during the holidays, then reporting back to Santa with no. 1 picks. But at Becker Jewelers, the store’s Elf on the Shelf also has the additional burden of daily social media work to perform. During the holiday season, the Breese, Ill.-based store has been using the Elf on the Shelf to send out fresh, creative, and homespun updates to the store’s 1,000-plus Facebook friends. Focusing on holiday related goings-on at the store, the Becker elf gives gift suggestions (pearls, watches, diamond studs, and ideal-cut diamond set bridal jewelry) and posts candid shots throughout the store (catching a few winks in fine glass bowls in the front of the store, or positioning himself in the store’s cash-wrap area to let customers know gifts are wrapped for free). Pictured here, Becker’s Elf on the Shelf is giving gents looking to propose during the holidays a helpful hint with Hearts On Fire bridal jewelry.
Photo courtesy of Becker Jewelers
Sometimes the holiday season coincides with other milestones, which is the case for the Wilson and Son Jewelers’ dedication ceremony of the County Center clock. The Wilson family spent $30,000 on a new clock they designed and commissioned to replace the badly damaged old Millennium Countdown Clock. In a dedication ceremony on Dec. 16, store president Matthew Wilson was joined by his brother Michael and County Executive Robert Astorino. The clock was dedicated to all armed services personnel that have served or are serving their country, but in particular, those veterans from the jewelers’ Scarsdale, N.Y. area.
(Photo courtesy of The Daily Harrison)
The world is full of Grinch-like bad guys that want to spoil Christmas for everyone. But two jewelers, whose burglary stories made local headlines, weren’t going to let the criminal actions of the few spoil holiday festivities for the many. The night before Small Business Saturday, Nancy Vega, owner of Sand & Stone Fine Jewelers in Yuma, Ariz., was anticipating a busy seasonal shopping day like most business owners. But when she opened her store on the Saturday after Black Friday, Vega discovered burglars had robbed her store. She closed down to recover from the incident. Determined to continue with holiday sales, Vega was able to get some inventory back in the store. The jeweler then held a grand reopening party a week later. To show her appreciation for the people in her community that offered an outpouring of support, the jeweler held a silent auction in her store for a diamond heart pendant. Proceeds from the auction went to benefit a local food bank.
Lou Guarino, owner of Louis Anthony Jewelers in Pittsburgh, Pa., discovered that if two burglars want some nice decorative Christmas trees bad enough, they’re going to take them no matter what. Guarino worked with a company to have two Christmas trees specially made for his store’s exterior holiday decorations. Knowing that no community is without its share of miscreants, the jeweler had each of his handmade decorative artificial Christmas trees cemented into a 20-pound concrete base. But on the evening of Dec. 6, that preventive measure didn’t shake the determination of the thieves that stole the trees. Guarino filed a report with local police. By last week, replacement trees were back in front of the store.
Finally, Christmas Countdown wants to give a shout out to the folks at Krekeler Jewelers for their creative approach to Christmas decorations. While most businesses go right for the seasonal red and green color combinations, Krekeler Jewelers opted for a black, white, and silver Christmas color theme. This slide show is a sampling of the store’s Christmas 2011 decorations.