Govberg Jewelers’ Philadelphia Story

Danny Govberg takes time to sell repair work and employee expertise at his watch emporium

1. What one advertisement elicited the most response, and why did it work?
What began as a modest print campaign in The Philadelphia Inquirer and local lifestyle magazines has been repurposed into radio and cable TV commercials. The message of “It’s a nice time to sell your jewelry” next to an image of my father exudes trust. The ad first appeared in 2007. In 2009, when those ­screaming “Buy gold now!” ads were everywhere, people knew [us] as the jewelry buyers in town. We’re here for the long term—long after the gold-buying craze is gone.

2. What’s the best idea you’ve come up with for your store?
Many jewelry store owners use sales to drive service. I’m using service to drive sales. My approach starts with taking the time to explain to [customers] why having repair work done at Govberg’s is the best option—especially with watch repairs, our specialty. A large percentage of customers go to a jewelry store for service, but very few stores advertise this portion of their business. This program is still in its infancy, but I think it has great potential.  

3. What’s your unique selling proposition?
We’re heavy into the pre-owned, high-end watch market. And people who are really into watches at this level know watches well and can quickly spot when a sales associate is winging it. That’s how you lose business and credibility. Our staff is full of watch geeks, many of whom do a lot of watch education on their own, in addition to going to watch company–­sponsored learning events. And many staff members have watch specialties. If one person isn’t as good with mechanical watches or a particular watch brand, the sale is seamlessly turned over. People know we’re the best in watches.

4. What ambitious goal do you have for your store?
Right now our stores are 75 percent watches and 25 percent jewelry sales. I’d like to have a 50-50 split over the next 18 months to two years. We’re finding that customers want products other than watches. We have the expertise in watches, and we’re getting more staff on board that have greater jewelry and trend knowledge. One way of shifting the stock balance is through relationship management with customers, determining exactly what jewelry they wish to buy. In terms of brands, we’re looking at bringing on names high-end watch customers know, such as Roberto Coin and Mikimoto.

5. When you walk through your door, what do you like most about your store?
The main reason for closing our old mall location and moving into a new lifestyle mall was being next to an Apple store. With our neighbor’s tech-driven sales and our long tradition with high-end watches and fine jewelry, the new store is a good mix of Old World flair with modern technology. The light gray hardwood floor and display cabinets are a coordinating dark gray stained mahogany. The jewelry is in a museum-like case with traditional artwork on the walls. Our video wall [is] made up of 12 50-inch flat-screen high-definition TVs to create single viewing content. We have everything on the wall from Phillies games to store notices on sales to vendor videos. No one else in the mall has this. One Apple store employee told me, “You out-Appled Apple.”