Jones Bros. Jewelers’ Bob Woolsey On Overcoming COVID’s Effects

I recently had an email exchange with fine jewelry retailer Bob Woolsey, co-owner of Jones Bros. Jewelers in Peoria, Ill., about how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way his company is doing business in 2020.

I used a snippet from our interview in an article but found Woolsey’s answers so refreshingly upbeat and solution-oriented, I wanted to share them in full with you. 

Here’s Woolsey, who calls himself “chief inspiration officer,” on how he and the Jones Bros. staff have been mitigating COVID’s impacts on their retail operations.

JCK: How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way you think about and do business in 2020?

Bob Woolsey: COVID gave me the opportunity to take four to six weeks off of day-to-day running to determine what truly mattered to me in business and in life.

We opted to keep everyone on through the whole shutdown, and in the process we all became better at what we do. Our goldsmiths learned Matrix and fabrication. Our accountant learned to master the SBA and all loans available. Our director of inventory sat in on close to 100 webinars and advised all of us on what she learned, as well as the top three things we could use from them. And our sales manager and sales team worked at becoming certified in Tissot and other brands that offered training, while clienteling through Clientbook.

We met daily to go over what we were doing and learning as a team via Zoom. We even had a happy hour where the leadership team delivered drinks to each team member’s house.

Overall, I spent a lot of time sharing gratitude with the community via Facebook by running, cycling, and sharing selfies and POTENT gratitude along the way.

How have things in the store changed since reopening?

Coming out of the lockdown we have gotten in the habit of greeting customers in the parking lot and starting the process outside and walking with them inside. That creates a new level of connection, and it is awesome.

We’ve gotten really good at having events and staggering the clients throughout the week versus packing them in for a weekend. We continue to rock out in the clienteling space, with all new muscles flexed from the lockdown.

We have increased our collection of lab-grown diamonds and continue to have lots and lots in stock for people to choose from—hundreds of diamonds in all price points, every day…. We are rocking the appointment- based selling that became a thing during the lockdown and month of curbside.

How have things been for you personally?

I have determined that our community has a huge opportunity in the post-COVID world. I am committed to creating a conversation around POTENT gratitude on a daily basis, with the goal of someday consulting [with others] so that we can be the leading example of how daily gratitude impacts the world and moves good forward. POTENT stands for all that we can be grateful for: people, opportunities, things, experiences, nature, and thoughts.

Top: Bob Woolsey, chief inspiration officer of Jones Bros. Jewelers in Peoria, Ill. 

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JCK Magazine Editor