FORGET THE BAD RAP, LA IS A JEWELRY CITY
Can it be only a decade or so ago that Southern California was the embodiment of the American Dream and Los Angeles was regarded truly as the City of the Angels, as well as the symbol of the chic, the trendy and the good life?
What has happened? Why is Los Angeles suddenly the place jewelers want to avoid? The Pacific Jewelry Show at the Century Plaza was for years a major business and social event that drew attendance from far and wide. Yet today the PJS finds it’s getting tougher than ever to attract buyers and sellers to its show which last year moved – after a side trip to San Diego – to the newly-renovated and expanded Los Angeles Convention Center.
The truth is that Los Angeles has gotten a bad rap. Some people like to blame it on a riot that played out on TV, on earthquakes or the threat of them, or on some other natural disaster. It’s much closer to the truth to recognize that Southern California took a harder hit than almost any other section of the U.S. in the recession of the late 1980s and early 1990s and is taking longer than any other section to recover.
But there are signs that the region, and the jewelers who do business there, are slowing getting back to normal – even with the Orange County bankruptcy. And what’s sure is that the region will recover fully given time. That alone should be reason enough not to write it off as a market to avoid.
When the full recovery comes it’s reasonable to expect that the jewelry industry of Southern California will remember who stuck by it and who ran for cover. JCK is happy to go on record as one business that isn’t going to be a fair-weather friend.
This isn’t just a matter of sentiment. Frankly, it’s a sensible business decision as well. The California economy as a whole, as we’re often reminded, would rank in the top 10 of the world if the state were a separate country. No sane company should cut its links to the business potential that such an economy promises.
It’s also true that, until recession hit, the Southern California jewelry business was thriving, in manufacturing and at retail. There’s little doubt that that vitality will return and that a revitalized industry will need a strong regional show as a market focus. The PJS has a proven record as a winner. This is no time to let it down. To use the LA image as an excuse for staying away is a poor and unconvincing cop-out.