The 19-month-old Harrison Co. combines big customer service with small boutique charm
1. What has been your most memorable sale?
I have an elderly gentleman client who was married to his wife for 35 years. They were vacationing in the Dominican Republic. They spent the whole day on the beach and had a great dinner and were doing some twilight snorkeling. She came up after 30 minutes and said, “I don’t feel so well.” Within 30 minutes, she had passed away. You could tell that they were soul mates—he was just devastated. They had matching diamond rings, and he came in to ask how we could combine her ring with his. I ended up carving a custom ring where I countersank the top of her ring into his ring. I cut a groove of the shank and put it into the bottom part of his ring so that portion of her ring will always be touching his hand. It’s just one of those emotional pieces and very memorable.
2. When you walk through your door, what do you like most about your store?
I opened the store only 19 months ago and I have three chandeliers: a round one in the front of the store and two big rectangular chandeliers. Each one has over 1,000 crystals, and when the sun sets, they create a sueded effect on the walls. People come in and say, “Wow, that must have taken forever to get that effect on the walls,” when actually it’s the chandelier doing the work.
3. What is your single best money-saving initiative?
When I built the store, I bought all my showcases secondhand. One is from the Sunglass Hut, and it had the metal racks and the backlighting and everything. I have another that came from a Nordstrom in town. A buddy of mine helped me completely refurbish and refinish them—we gutted them completely. I had a custom stain that we put on them and we re-laminated them. It was probably a $20,000 savings.
4. What nightmare scenario did you turn around to save the day?
I had a client getting married for the second time who was using her old diamond from her first marriage. I was going to make a custom bridal set and it was getting close to their wedding date. I have a supplier who specializes in rose gold, and I sent the [diamond and designs] off to him. Well, FedEx lost the package a week before their wedding. So I basically had to source the replacement—get a 2 ct. oval diamond and get the bridal set made—in less than eight days. We got it done and the client was understanding. It had the added benefit of allowing them to get a new diamond instead of using the one from her previous marriage.
5. How do you differentiate your store from the competition?
My store is smaller than the others in town. And that’s a great thing because when people walk in, they get a small boutique feel. And they get the owner every time. And being a one-man show makes it easier for me to keep on top of what the customer is wanting. Also, I don’t carry a lot of well-known brands. I always say, “If you’re looking for something everyone else has on the street, I’m probably not your guy.” I like unique pieces.