Georgia Jeweler to Close

It took three months for owner Steve Franklin to come to terms with the future
of Signature Jewelers in Warner Robins, Ga. Against the backdrop of declining
sales, Franklin decided that he just couldn’t hold on to the store any longer.
He announced a liquidation sale in early November with plans to close Jan. 8.

He remained optimistic
during the economic downturn but after a spate of poor sales, Franklin decided
it was time to let go. “I’ve been thinking things were going to change in the
luxury industry but they have not,” Franklin tells JCK.

Franklin has been with
the independent jewelry store since its founding 11 years ago. “I fell in love
with the selling of diamonds and precious stones,” Franklin says. “Luxury items
are obviously not a necessity and when people do not have money, they don’t
have to spend it here because of the uncertain times.”

Franklin expressed his
gratitude in a letter addressed to customers. “My time spent at Signature
Jewelers and the wonderful experiences associated with being a part of many
special occasions will always be treasured,” he wrote.

Franklin says he was
intrigued with the jewelry industry long before the opportunity to get involved
arrived. When a friend in the industry decided to expand his jewelry business,
Franklin jumped on board. “I just kind of learned
on my own,” he says. As he learned more about design, diamonds, gemstones and
repair work, Franklin says he fell in love with the industry. “I really love
what I’m doing. I hate having to get out of the business.”

Signature’s bridal and
diamond earring selection have been the most successful parts of the
liquidation sale, though he says selling diamond earrings is never a problem
during the holiday season.

“The things
that I cherish the most are when you’re a part of a celebration like an
engagement or an anniversary,” he says. “The excitement of that all is
something that I’ll miss.”