JCK 5: Patrick Pugh, the Prince of Zanesville

Grab a cup of coffee and cozy up to the cases at Pugh’s Diamond Jewelers

1. What is your single best money-­saving initiative?
For fiscal year 2010–2011, I decided to cut my advertising budget from 8 percent of sales down to 5.5 percent, or $60,000. We’re still using TV, radio, and print, just not as much. The focus now is more on new media outlets. Our online presence is coming together on Facebook with a “main site” feature that mimics the look of our main website’s home page with the same content features and links. The shift also includes ­e-newsletters, email blasts, and more direct contact with customers by phone. In the lead-up to two of our main customer events, our employees are literally making thousands of calls to customers. 

2. What ambitious goal do you have for your store?
We’re looking to grow our business 10 percent each year. To accomplish this, one of the first things we did was use our ARMS software to budget for expenses, buying, advertising, etc. Within our marketing budget, we conducted careful event tracking to determine the best return on investment. Gold buying has also helped to increase sales while providing us with a significant increase in cash flow.

3. What’s your most memorable sale?
Two years ago, one of our regulars was in the store looking at engagement rings with her daughter. Before the visit, the mother and her daughter’s boyfriend, who was then on active duty in Iraq, worked out a time and cell phone signal when the right ring was chosen. The mother took a picture of the ring and sent it to the boyfriend’s phone. He then called her from Iraq, and the couple got engaged in our store. A wedding proposal over the phone from an active war zone thousands of miles away was a very special first for us.

4. What nightmare scenario did you turn around to save the day?
Last year, a diamond bracelet and other pieces of jewelry made up a $12,000 order for a corporate account’s award presentation. At around 8:30 a.m. on the day of the presentation, we got a call that the diamond bracelet was too long. The company was 40 miles away, so we immediately sent someone to pick up the bracelet and get it back to the store. Meanwhile, the goldsmith was informed of the emergency and got the shop ready. The diamond bracelet was resized from 8.25 inches down to 7.5 inches at no charge, and then we drove it back to the company with 20 minutes to spare before the late-morning award presentation. Earlier in the day, they wrote off the possibility of presenting the bracelet that day. They were amazed with our speed and efficiency.  

5. When you walk through your door, what do you like most about your store?
A warm feeling—but that wasn’t the case in the past when the store interior was somewhat stark. About 18 months ago, we were just going to install new carpet. Well, with new carpet we were going to have to paint the walls, and suddenly the number of changes became a facelift for the store. Customer-friendly features were added in as well, including a self-serve coffee bar, flat-screen TVs, and a comfortable sitting area. The new look will hold us over until a major expansion to the store in 2014.

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