JCK 5: Don Broyles of Calvin Broyles Jewelers

The West Virginia retailer has a head for stock, an eye for ads, and a way with remodeling

1. What are your best sellers and how do you keep them selling?
We have a person at our two stores dedicated to reordering. My brother David and I meet with each person to review what sold the previous week and what needs to be reordered the following week. Most items that retail for $1,000 or less are reordered without much discussion—if the items were only in inventory for 90 days or less. These are steady, fast sellers. But for items that retail for $1,000 or more, we give these greater scrutiny. Was this a higher-end item we can afford to reorder? Was it in inventory for a long time? Or was this a “freak sale” that likely won’t happen again? Also, with this price range, often we’ll either reorder a piece at a similar price point but a different style, or keep that money in reserve to replace that item from a new collection from the vendor.

2. What was your most memorable sale?
During the Christmas season in 2009, a young man came into the store. He told me he and his wife just had a baby, but shortly after that he lost his job. His wife had been a very good mother and a supportive wife and he wanted to give her a special gift of a cross. I showed him a couple reasonably priced options. He looked at them and told me he’d be back in an hour. One of the other customers overheard the man’s story. He said he had been in that same position and offered to buy the cross for him. The man came back an hour later to make the purchase. When I told him the item was already paid for, he assumed I was going to give him the jewelry. It took some convincing, but he finally believed me. I later called the customer who bought the item and told him how much the gesture was appreciated.

3. When you walk through your front door, what do you like most about your store?
In 2000, we moved into an old drugstore. After remodeling, we had a 5,000-square-foot store with a lot of open space, which allowed us to have two large islands and to position the cases in an angular fashion to better direct foot traffic. Last October, when we moved from the strip center we’d been in for 20 years, we modeled the new store after the other store: a diamond room, offices that faced the showroom so we could make eye contact with customers coming in, and case designs that were even more angular.

4. What one advertisement elicited the most response for you?
Last year a wireless provider put up 3G cellphone towers in our area and promoted it aggressively. My brother David has two sons and I have two, one still in college. With three of our boys working in the two stores, we used the 3G theme in a billboard to promote the third generation of Broyles in the business. ­People got the connection right away.

5. How do you differentiate your store from the competition?
Our trained staff is our biggest asset. We have three CGAs [Certified Gemologist Appraisers] on staff, and one GIA Graduate Gemologist. We attend the major trade shows to stay current, and have great relationships with our vendors to stock the latest styles. Once customers are in the store, we know it’s our job to make them come back.

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