President and owner
What nightmare scenario did you turn around to save the day?
It happened not too long ago. We received a ring to resize through the mail—a nice $8,000 diamond engagement ring. And the employee who checked it in didn’t follow protocol. She thought she was doing something right when she called the phone number listed on the job. But she ended up talking to the fiancée, who had no idea the proposal was going to happen. She burst into tears, she was so upset. We called the client and poured our heart out to him, and in the end, he ended up buying two rings—the $8,000 ring and another $30,000 ring his fiancée had loved. I made him a really good deal on it. He had planned to propose on this big trip he had booked for his fiancée, and we ruined his trip and his proposal. And he was still so nice and so understanding. It was horrible, but the way he acted was incredible.
What has been your most memorable sale?
When I first went into business, one of my best customers was a widow who became a good friend. She would call me maybe every other month and say she was feeling a little down and would love to buy something for herself to lift her spirits. And she would buy a $20,000 to $50,000 item. I sold her so much, it was hard for me not to duplicate items I was showing her. Then it turned out she actually owned a little strip center in Hope, Ark., where she lived, and she asked me to open a store there. And so we did it! We operated that store for 18 years.
What was your finest hour in the realm of customer service?
Our jeweler, Danny Carroll, who’s been with us for 30 years, used to literally work for 24 hours straight. I’ll never forget, in the early days, he would stay up all night to create custom pieces during the holiday crunch. We would leave him at night and come into the store the next morning, and he would be asleep on the floor. That’s how my staff is—they go the extra mile all the time.
What is your single best money-saving initiative?
Over the years the one thing we’ve done is hire really smart college kids to work during peak season. Sometimes we have up to eight of them in the store at one time. We’re a huge Alex and Ani and Pandora store, and they are great with those brands.
How do you differentiate your store from the competition?
By being a member of Continental Buying Group and Preferred Jewelers International, not only are we working with some of the top vendors in the world, but they both also help us to stay on top of trends. Alex and Ani was started in Rhode Island, but a friend of mine in the Continental Buying Group said, “Hey, you might want to look at this.” Being a part of groups that have the top jewelers and vendors in the country helps us stay ahead of everyone else.
Photograph by Jacob Slaton