All That Matters

Matters Jewelry, Neosho, Mo., and the local newspaper have a few things in common: Both are fixtures in the community, both celebrate life events such as engagements, and both have been around for a long time. In fact, if you wanted to track the history of Matters Jewelry, which has been in business for 111 years, you could do so through newspaper archives, thanks to members of the Matters family who have managed to save several decades’ worth. A close look at the Matters compendium of old documents—including newspaper ads, an ancient tax record and ledger, and some photos—offers a glimpse of how the jewelry business evolved and how the Matters family continues to thrive and serve customers in its small Midwest town.

Making Ends Meet
Following is an income statement from 1948 for Matters Jewelry, Neosho, Mo. Boy, how times have changed!

Editor’s note: Could healthy advertising budgets be a key to store longevity? Notice how much money Matters spent—nearly 5% of its total sales, which is more than most jewelers today spend on advertising, according to five years’ worth of data from Jewelers of America’s annual Cost of Doing Business Survey
Sales—jewelry, leather, etc. $23,152.29
Sales—repairs 5,879.49
Other income 89.05
$ 29,120.84
Less refunds 212.02
$28,908.82
Inventory—Jan. 1, 1948 $ 11,976.32
Purchases—Jewelry 17,999.31
Supplies 974.49
Labor—repairs 2,640.23
$ 33,590.35
Less inventory, Dec. 31, 1948 $15,436.00
COST OF SALES $18,154.35
GROSS PROFIT $10,754.47
EXPENSES:
Wages $663.32
Repairs 257.30
Heat, lights, water 287.40
Telephone 110.71
Depreciation 145.90
Advertising 1,082.24
Freight and express 157.47
Miscellaneous 207.75
Rent 337.50
Taxes 70.05
Insurance 425.01
Legal and accounting 50.25
Interest 27.00
Postage 106.87
Dues and subscriptions 98.85
$4,027.62
NET PROFIT $6,726.85