Blessing in Disguise

In light of the economic recovery, jewelers are reflecting on policies they put in place during the recession that made them leaner, meaner, and more profitable.In 2008, when the economy tanked—taking scores of ­retailers with it—the owners of Long’s Jewelers, a five-store chain based in Boston, knew the only way to survive was to undergo the retail equivalent of elective surgery. Assessing everything from staffing to marketing to merchandise, they took a scalpel to anything that reeked of a prerecession mindset. First under the knife: the employees. Long’s downsized its staff by 20 percent, says president Craig Rottenberg, and kept the reduced numbers through 2009—even when business began to pick up. It’s a Long’s story: Long’s Jewelers locations in Natick, Mass. (left), and Boston (right)To prevent the diminished sales force from compromising customer service, Long’s

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