Steve Moorman is president of Carroll’s Jewelers, a fourth-generation guild store that has served Coral Gables, Fla., from the same location since 1946. It was founded by Moorman’s grandfather, Carroll Seghers, in Cincinnati in 1937. It’s the oldest and largest jewelry store on Coral Gables’ famous Miracle Mile. Carroll’s runs numerous in-store events and specializes in both common and uncommon colored stones.
Carroll’s opened a second store in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 1962, which is run by Moorman’s brother, Robert Moorman Jr. It’s the largest and oldest fine-jewelry store in Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Boulevard shopping district.
What are your best sellers?
Leadin QuestionDiamond bridal does very well for us and accounts for 25 percent to 30 percent of our business. If you count in fashion, diamonds account for about 50 percent of our business. Colored stones also are very strong for us. We do well with multicolor sapphire and Color Craft stones. We sold fantasy cuts in blue topaz for Valentine’s Day, and it was a huge seller. People have come back in to tell us how thrilled they are with it because it’s so brilliant, unusual, and unique.
What has been your most suc- cessful marketing program?
We advertise in every medium and consistently spend 5 percent of our revenues on advertising. But our single best marketing tool remains word of mouth. Most new business comes from referrals. Referrals make up about 20 percent to 25 percent of our business. Someone typically will come in and tell us something like “I saw Jane’s ring and she said she got it here. You really have fabulous stuff!” We take care of customers who refer new business to us by giving them something for free, like jewelry cleaner or a free repair. We don’t offer them discounts, because we think it cheapens the jewelry.
What has been your best money-saving initiative?
We are members of the Independent Jewelers Organization, and you get to buy product at great prices because they offer combined buying power. IJO also offers 5 percent rebates on purchases, and that can really add up. In addition, they pay airfare and travel expenses to their shows and sponsor overseas buying trips for members.
What has been your best strategy for increasing sales?
Our biggest sales driver has been to offer our salespeople incentives, such as a “best salesperson of the month” award, and taking the staff to dinner when they reach a sales goal. We pay straight salary plus bonus, and started offering both individual and team incentives about six months ago, and it has really paid off. Some members of our staff have seen their sales increase by 20 percent or more.
What was your biggest challenge, and how did you resolve it?
To keep customers coming into the store, and to find the right merchandise mix. One way we’ve tried to attract more customers is by having our staff members join the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, and other community organizations so they can meet more people—and more potential customers. We also sponsor events in the community. Our store is the official jeweler of the Junior Orange Bowl Pageant, and my brother’s store sponsors the Miss Florida Pageant. We don’t look for these things to generate sales directly, but we believe they foster good will that will pay off for us down the road. In terms of having the right merchandise mix, we go to numerous shows to check out the styles and trends, our people look at the fashion magazines, and we do some competitive shopping in our area to see what’s out there.