Letter From the Publisher: June 2020

JCK publisher Mark SmelzerIt’s a time for hope.

Greetings from my “home office” (our spare bedroom in Lancaster, Pa.). Since COVID-19 rocked the world in ways unimaginable just a few months ago, people around the country have been isolated in their homes and are just now adjusting to the new normal.

In the first week of the pandemic, the CEO of the Diamond Producers Association, David Kellie, convened industry leaders to announce a new B2B effort, the ­Jeweler Support Network (jewelersupportnetwork.com), and a business-to-consumer portal, Support Your Local Jeweler (supportyourlocaljeweler.com). Both sites seek to highlight and celebrate the role that local jewelers play during this crisis.

Soon after, American Gem Society president John Carter began posting lighthearted but essential videos on his website to bring some levity and information to fellow retailers. This year, the AGS Conclave went digital, and I enjoyed “seeing” many friends during the webinars, digital meet-ups, and more.

The trade publications—led, of course, by JCK—stepped forward with an endless flow of content to help retailers cope in these difficult times. We’ve also seen many jewelry manufacturers—including some longtime JCK and JCKonline ­supporters—come to market with messages of moral support, tactical support, and ways they can help enhance whatever digital sales independent retailers are able to conduct.

I’ve always loved this business, and the way industry leaders have faced reality, advanced solutions, and banded together is truly inspirational. I’ve also realized that while business travel and conference attendance can feel difficult, they only need to be taken away for you to realize the role they play in your career and in your personal life. Once the fear of the unknown subsided and I was able to take stock, I began to grieve acutely for the lack of personal contact.

Thank you all for your support and friendship. I cannot wait to see my friends in person soon. In the meantime, try and enjoy this time to focus on family, and I’ll do the same!

Top: Our son and intrepid backyard explorer, Nolen

(Smelzer photograph by Nicholas Prakas)

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