03242017Fri
Last updateThu, 23 Mar 2017 12am
Diamond shipping scam impacts 20-plus diamond wholesalers

Diamond shipping scam impacts 20-plus diamond wholesalers

Since November, an estimated 20 or more diamond ve...

GJA, AJA announce 2017 Convention dates

GJA, AJA announce 2017 Convention dates

The Georgia Jewelers Association (GJA) and Alabama...

Other News

Crime against U.S. jewelers increases for first year since 2012

Crime against U.S. jewelers increases for first year since 2012

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers’ Security Alliance (JSA) has released its 2016 Annual Crime Report covering crime against the jewelry industry in the United States. The total number of crimes against the industry increased from 1,117 in 2015 to 1,245 in 2016, a...

Readmore

Loading...

Industry Events

Stuller hosts mini conference for jewelry group

Stuller hosts mini conference for jewelry group

Leading Jewelers Guild visits global headquarters

(LAFAYETTE, La.) - Stuller recently partnered with the Leading Jewelers Guild (LJG) to host a one-day conference at its global headquarters in Lafayette, Louisiana, giving members of the guild an entire...

Readmore

Loading...

On The Move

Jane Kirk appointed Executive Director of NC Jewelers Association

Jane Kirk appointed Executive Director of NC Jewelers Association

(RALEIGH, N.C.) - The North Carolina Jewelers Association (NCJA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Jane Kirk as Executive Director, effective immediately. The Board’s action comes with the fullest confidence that Kirk will be an excellent stew...

Readmore

Loading...

What's New

ASHI launches 2017 Lovebright Collection Book

ASHI launches 2017 Lovebright Collection Book

ASHI is excited to launch the 2017 Lovebright Collection Book for all of their retail partners to share with their customers. ASHI reports the positive feedback they have received from their retailers, and the overwhelming desire to ignite and promot...

Readmore

Loading...

Featured Articles

Bill Spencer talks jewelry, family and the secret to a successful 3rd generation family business

Bill Spencer talks jewelry, family and the secret to a successful 3rd generation family business

Seventy three years and three generations is a long time to operate a jewelry store. Especially when, according to a Jewelers Board of Trade statistic, over 1,500 jewelry business owners ceased operating in 2016. Yes, that includes wholesalers, manuf...

Readmore

Loading...

Latest News

Crime against U.S. jewelers increases for first year since 2012

1 DAY AGO
Crime against U.S. jewelers increases for first year since 2012

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers’ Security Alliance (JSA) has released its 2016 Annual Crime Report covering crime against the jewelry industry in the United States. The total number of crimes against the industry increased from 1,117 in 2015 to 1,245 in 2016, an increase of 5.8%. Total dollar losses also incre...

Readmore

JA examines pending legislative issues most important to jewelry industry

1 DAY AGO
JA examines pending legislative issues most important to jewelry industry

Jewelers of America’s (JA) latest Legislative Update covers some of the big policy initiatives - including comprehensive tax reform, a potential import tax and the FTC’s “Cultured Diamond” terminology - that are in play for 2017 and their impact on jewelry businesses.

Readmore

Stuller hosts mini conference for jewelry group

1 DAY AGO
Stuller hosts mini conference for jewelry group

Leading Jewelers Guild visits global headquarters

(LAFAYETTE, La.) - Stuller recently partnered with the Leading Jewelers Guild (LJG) to host a one-day conference at its global headquarters in Lafayette, Louisiana, giving members of the guild an entire day of education and networking.

Readmore

GJA, AJA announce 2017 Convention dates

23 DAYS AGO
GJA, AJA announce 2017 Convention dates

The Georgia Jewelers Association (GJA) and Alabama Jewelers Association (AJA) have announced they will cohost their annual Convention on March 31- April 2. Now in its 9th year, the two state organizations will join forces at the Marriott Grand National Resort & Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in O...

Readmore

Jane Kirk appointed Executive Director of NC Jewelers Association

23 DAYS AGO
Jane Kirk appointed Executive Director of NC Jewelers Association

(RALEIGH, N.C.) - The North Carolina Jewelers Association (NCJA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Jane Kirk as Executive Director, effective immediately. The Board’s action comes with the fullest confidence that Kirk will be an excellent steward of NCJA’s goals and an advocate for North Caro...

Readmore

Belair Time Corp. names Chuck Goedtke Southeastern Sales Manager

23 DAYS AGO

Belair Time Corporation has announced the appointment of long-time watch industry veteran Chuck Goedtke to Southeastern Regional Sales Manager. Chuck will be covering Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky for Belair.

Readmore

ASHI launches 2017 Lovebright Collection Book

9 DAYS AGO
ASHI launches 2017 Lovebright Collection Book

ASHI is excited to launch the 2017 Lovebright Collection Book for all of their retail partners to share with their customers. ASHI reports the positive feedback they have received from their retailers, and the overwhelming desire to ignite and promote their store’s diamond sales, has been extremely ...

Readmore

ASHI launches the I DO Bridal Sweepstakes

15 DAYS AGO
ASHI launches the I DO Bridal Sweepstakes

Announces winner of #LovebrightValentine Sweepstakes

(NEW YORK) - ASHI is excited to launch the I DO Bridal Sweepstakes, to kickoff the wedding season for its retail partners. Retailers will be able to attract bridal shoppers to their stores, through various social media platforms, and let every bride...

Readmore

LeeBrant Jewelers’ new store on the cutting edge

(ATLANTA, Ga.) - When Lee Eskridge and Brant Bateman talk about LeeBrant Jewelers' new 15,000 square foot location, just opened in December, they are thrilled to describe the improvements the new location enjoys. Many are cutting edge in the jewelry business and some required research to find the suppliers to build or create different parts of the store. Today all the effort seems to be well worth the six plus years the project took from beginning to end.


LeeB-exterior-March
LeeBrant Jewelers' new 15,000 square foot location (just opened in December) is
aesthetically beautiful and contains technically advanced, cutting edge security features.

 

LeeBrant Jewelers is starting its fifteenth year in business with a brand new location in the popular Perimeter area of Atlanta. Just a few short miles from their previous location, Bateman and his business partner and long time friend Lee Eskridge, are proud of their new building and many of the security features they incorporated. The free standing building features showcases that each contain secure vaults to house the jewelry when the store is closed. "The showcases have a mechanism that in a single key swipe the floor board with displays and jewelry lowers into a steel vault, the show case light goes out and a steel door rolls in place to secure the vault. This saves countless hours of payroll for put out and take up of the jewelry, and also keeps the display elements and the jewelry in pristine shape for a long time," says Bateman. With these economies, Bateman says the cases will pay for themselves in about four years.


From a main key location all the cases can be emptied and secured simultaneously in 30 seconds. They use that method about once a week to ensure that all systems are go. A battery back up ensures that the cases can be secured in the event of a power outage. A card key system is used for opening the cases to show merchandise, and if an employee signals a case to open and then does not open the case, it automatically locks thirty seconds later. No showcase keys means no locks to change if someone loses a key card. The lost key card is simply deactivated.

 


The store's two diamond engagement ring cases feature a security system that notifies the store's computer system when an item is removed from the case. A chip on the tag alerts management which piece has been removed from the showcase. If a salesperson is working with a customer the system simultaneously displays a photo of the item and lists its characteristics on a video monitor behind the salesperson and tells the customer what other pieces come with the set. This aids in both security and sales. Additionally, a report can be generated to tell the diamond buyer which items are being shown and how often, and which pieces don't get pulled from the case at all. The store is working on this system and is excited about refining it and future uses.


A drive up window for customers with young children in the car, clients with disabilities or quick and easy repair pick up was constructed on one side of the building. "We want to get our clients and new customers in the store any time we can, but we realize that the drive through window is a convenience American consumers love. We hope that by providing that service we will build loyalty with our customers," said Bateman. The window is made with bullet proof glass.


The store also features plasma TVs and comfortable chairs near a bar area complete with wine cooler, dishwasher and ice maker. Men shopping with their wives won't need to rush out on Saturday afternoons to catch part of a game and can relax with a cold beverage.


The building is made almost entirely of steel and stone and features an impressive drive under portico entrance and an armed security doorman. The two story domed ceiling above the sales floor is painted sky blue with clouds to give a natural feeling. A beautiful T shaped double staircase leads to the upper level mezzanine and features the store logo on a soothing two story waterfall wall. The lower part of the staircase has removable railings and can be converted into a stage with sections stored in a closet under the stairs. They hope to use this and the upper level for special store events or for local community groups to hold meeting and events.

LeeB-interior-March


"All the showcases in the center islands on the sales floor can be taken upstairs via our elevator and stored for special events. The carpet in the islands on the sales floor can be rolled up and our beautiful granite floors can be used to seat 135 for dinner with another 75 seated upstairs," Bateman says. A kitchen area off the sales floor is configured to accommodate catering services and will soon feature a gas grill along with the full kitchen.


Plans for this move began years ago when the partners realized they were quickly out-growing the former strip center location they had been in since they opened LeeBrant Jewelers in 1994. They had expanded the original store from 1250 to 2500 square feet, but when that became too small and they could not convince their next door neighbor to move, started looking for land in 2001. Over the years they have put bids on several lots but encountered zoning problems. They did not want to move far from their original location, wanted good visibility and wanted to be at an intersection with a traffic signal. In April of 2007 they found the perfect corner lot and after six months of negotiations they began making plans to break ground in February, 2008.


Bateman comments: "With the current economic situation, the move may seem ill timed, but we were way into this project before the current conditions set in. We needed to move anyway and now we hope that our actions will bring us more visibility, traffic and new customers."


While Eskridge started out sweeping floors at the age of 12 or 13 in a jewelry store in Shelby, NC where his mother worked, Bateman grew up in Georgia thinking he would be a peach farmer after college. A call from Bateman's brother in 1978 about a job with a company that had just hired him brought Bateman, dressed in shirt and tie, to the Bailey, Banks and Biddle store in Perimeter Mall, just down the street from the new store's location. "I was just out of college. My brother said it was a good company and that they had a great training program. I guess they did because I'm still in the business 30 years later." This is where Bateman and Eskridge would meet and develop a friendship while learning the jewelry business. The decision to go into business together was made 16 years later. Bateman's brother is still in the jewelry business as well, working for Tiffany & Co. running their stores in Florida.


The team of employees the two partners have built is made up of experienced sales people with little turnover. Two gemologists are on staff as well as trained bench and watch repair staff. The owners value their staff and try hard to keep them. The new location has a large room closed off upstairs that will soon feature exercise equipment, showers and changing rooms for staff members who want to stay fit. Since LeeBrant's clientele is a higher end customer they work hard to keep them returning and happy. Each year they hold a customer appreciation evening with a full meal and bar service. In the beginning they would feature athletes to draw a crowd, but nowadays that is not necessary as their customers can't wait to attend. At the old location they would set up tents to hold all the customers, but at their new location that is a thing of the past.


LeeB-staff-MarchLeeBrant Jewelers does have one relationship with a spotlight personality that they hope never ends. Sean Hannity, the radio/television host, political commentator and author is often heard on his show talking about his friends Lee and Brant at LeeBrant Jewelers. He does ads about the store and mentions them frequently. He recently gave a Rolex watch he purchased from the store to his TV show co-host Alan Colmes when the pair ended their "Hannity & Colmes" show on January 9th. Hannity purchased the watch as he does everything else he gets from LeeBrant Jewelers and will not accept payment for the ads or discounted prices on merchandise. Both men say they appreciate very much what their customer and friend Sean has done and continues to do for them. The ads on talk radio have definitely helped the store's high end business and hence the majority of their advertising budget goes to other talk radio show spots. The store receives calls from consumers all over the US that have heard Sean mention the store and even some advertising people trying to sell ads as far away as NY call.


If you would like information about the cutting edge features at LeeBrant, Brant will be happy to direct other retail jewelers to the suppliers they worked with. The store's phone number is 770-551-8850 and Brant's e-mail is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The staff of LeeBrant Jewelers includes experienced salespersons, two gemologists and trained bench and watch repair personnel. (l-r) Ina Mavalyants, Paul Magnuson, Elizabeth Bateman, co-owner Brant Bateman, Co-owner Lee Eskridge, Ella Eskridge, Gary Brockmiller, Rachel Clark and Aline Ezquerra.

 


Columnist


×