Retail Details: Avenue Jewelers’ Jason Druxman



Jason Druxman on his casual attire, friendly clientele, and studly nickname

1. What advice have you received from a fellow retailer that’s changed the way you run your store?

I’m a fourth-generation jeweler who’s been in the jewelry business for 26 years. Growing up in the business, I worked in a chain store and at independents where I had to wear a suit every day and lived a fairly formal existence selling jewelry. Along the way, I’ve learned from other jewelers to be myself and have some fun doing it. Selling ­jewelry should be fun—that applies to me and to my staff. Guys are in a ­jewelry store because they’re in love and want to show it. Similar to other ­jewelers, I invite them into my store like I invite guests into my home. And you won’t find me wearing a suit in my house.

2. How do you differentiate your store from the competition?

We’re real. You come into our store and within seconds you feel like you’re at a friend’s home. Our clientele are very loyal and refer their friends to us all the time. Part of being real is being myself. Last Christmas I alternated between Christmas tree and elf costumes, handing out pictures of myself. It was a little nutty but the kids loved it, and the parents too. I even shoveled the snow as a Christmas tree waving to passersby, which gained a lot of attention in our downtown. Don’t be surprised to see me dressed as Cupid next February.

3. What ambitious goal do you have for your store, and what do you think it’s going to take in order to achieve it?

I’ve already achieved one of the greatest goals. When I arrive at the store to “work” it isn’t really “work”—it isn’t even a job. I have the greatest non-job in the world. I get to talk to my friends all day, help guys find the ring they’re going to give the woman of their dreams, and help celebrate wedding anniversaries and the births of children and even grandbabies. How cool is that? My staff feels the same way, but my goal is to bring them up to my level of enthusiasm. 

4. What’s the best idea you’ve come up with for your store?

The greatest idea we have come up with is having our staff get involved in all the creativity by having them create their own “personas,” their secret identity or store name. Each employee has come up with an “-ologist” title or a store moniker that is catchy and focuses on a staff member’s sales or customer service specialty. For example, “Charm­ologist” Megan Klubertanz manages the Pandora displays. “Creatologist” Kim Preissner is in charge of custom work. And I’m not Jason Druxman; I’m “The Diamond Stud.”

5. When you walk through your front door, what do you like most about your store?

I love the comfort of the store, the downtown location, and the community that surrounds us. Compared to Seattle, where I grew up, Appleton, Wis., is a place where you have a better chance to get close to people, make friends, and get to know your customers like friends. And in the store, customers interact like friends—talking about everything from kids’ soccer games on up to studies at college. During the Christmas season, when the store is very busy, we literally have family reunions on our sales floor.