Joe Kalish, owner of Grayson Jewelers in Grayson, Ga., has made the lives of a few lucky residents much easier recently by paying their mortgage or rent payment for a month.
“We asked ourselves, what do people need in this economy?” says Kalish. “We’ve been blessed despite the economy and it’s nice to be able to give back to the community.”
All residents can enter to win the drawing, even if they have never purchased anything in the store. All they need to do is drop their information in the fishbowl that sits on the store’s counter. On the last day of every other month, Grayson’s mayor Jim Hinkle pulls a name out of the bowl and awards the winner with a mortgage or rent payment courtesy of Grayson Jewelers.
“They have been very involved in the community since they opened up,” says Hinkle. “This promotion is the epitome of community service and we love them for it.” Hinkle adds that the two people who have won the prize so far have been ecstatic.
Joe and Beth Kalish
Kalish’s store, which he runs with his wife, Beth, has been doing very well despite the economy, pulling in $1 million in sales a year. He believes that while jewelry sales and gold buying have driven the store’s revenues, the real secret to the store’s success has been their master jeweler, Richard Smith. “This guy can do anything, and I mean anything,” says Kalish. “A customer comes in looking for something specific, and he makes it.”
For that reason, Kalish has stayed away from bringing in a major brand into the store. He also came up with a promotion early on that also boosted sales. When he first opened nearly three years ago, Kalish offered $1.99 watch batteries on all of his advertising, despite protests from other jewelers saying it would drive prices on everything way down. “I was just trying to give our customers a fair price for our products,” He says. “You wouldn’t believe how many of those watch battery sales turned into the customer buying something else.”
The interior of Grayson Jewelers (photos courtesy of Joe Kalish)
Grayson is a small town, but is situated in Gwinnett County. Before the economic downturn, Gwinnett was one of the fastest growing communities in the country. Buoyed by the success of his mortgage payment promotion, Kalish plans to up the ante this Christmas. He plans to work with Hinkle to figure out which families are in the most need this holiday season, and with the help of a few of his business friends, pay for the families’ gifts and meals.
“There’s still a lot of money around here, but there are a lot of families that need help,” He says. “It’s a lot of fun to do things like this.”