PUTTING BUSINESS BACK IN A FAMILY BUSINESS

Revelations happen where you least expect them. For jewelers Bill and Kathy Sustachek, it was at a cocktail reception at the 1994 American Gem Society Conclave. A jeweler chatting about his successful store caught their ear. “He was in business for less time than we were, and yet was more successful,” recalls Bill. When they asked him why, he asked them a question in response: “How long have you really been working at it?” “That started us thinking,” says Kathy. “What did we want to do [with the business], and how did we want to grow?” The answers they determined have transformed their little family business – 98-year-old Rasmussen Diamonds in Racine, Wis. – and boosted sales 81% in four years. Today, the store does $1.2 million annually, with $2 million likely by year’s end, and has just moved to new quarters triple its former size. What they did ca
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