After hearing from both its employees and customers, Waterville, Maine–based Day’s Jewelers has decided to close its stores on Sundays, beginning on July 17.
That doesn’t include Sundays from Black Friday though the Christmas holiday, as well other heavy buying periods.
“When we conduct interviews with the staff, one of the reasons that people might be tempted to leave was the hours,” says Joseph Corey, president of the eight-store chain, which transitioned to employee ownership last year.
He notes that Sundays were the “most logical choice” to close.
“Sundays were our slowest day,” he says. “It’s our lowest-volume day. The foot traffic is usually very light.”
When weighing the decision, the company surveyed its employees and found that 80% approved of closing the stores on Sundays, even knowing that the decision could impact both the company and employees’ retirement accounts, which were created as a result of its new employee-ownership structure.
“We wanted to make sure that the employees had a voice in this decision,” Corey says. “Work-life balance is more important to people [now] than it’s ever been.”
When customers were surveyed, the results were even starker: Some 93% of respondents agreed with the decision to close on Sundays. In addition, 93% said they would not shop with another jeweler if Day’s was closed on Sundays.
Implementing the new policy meant Day’s had to get waivers from four landlords who required that the store be open on Sundays. Those were finally received this week.
Corey didn’t think that the change was spurred by any religious feelings. “People just want a day off,” he says.
Corey’s father, Jeff, was interviewed about the benefits of the new employee ownership structure on the JCK podcast recorded at the JCK show in Las Vegas last month.
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