(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) - The Southeastern Jewelers Organization (SJO) held its annual Buying Weekend January 31st, and this year family and fun were main themes of the event. With the incredible backdrop of the Ballantyne Resort and Spa in Charlotte, NC, this SJO event usually hosts many buying members who are serious about their business and connecting with colleagues. This year was no exception. However, since the event occurred over Super Bowl weekend, the SJO board embraced the opportunity to celebrate one of the greatest American traditions... football.
One of the many highlights of the show was the Super Bowl party which brought everyone together to cheer for their team. Guests donned their team attire and enjoyed a little friendly competition as they enjoyed food, festivities and fun. SJO even invited family members, including children, who enjoyed the event as well.
"This was such a great opportunity for everyone to get together and really get to know and enjoy one another," said Chris and Michelle Wright of Diamond Rush Jewelers, Henderson, North Carolina. "The fact that our families were included just added to the overall consensus that this is much more than just a buying group."
SJO is an organization dedicated to providing strong independent retailers with increased profitability and operating efficiency. The group was founded in 1962 to increase the gross margins of jewelers by negotiating great deals from quality vendors. In addition, the group provides centralized billing, account management support and two "top-class" buying shows (January and August) each year. Simple and effective are the best words to describe this group.
Interings and Royal Chain booths at their Buying Weekend.
"Our members enjoy greater profitability because we have great deals from great companies - simple as that," states Paul Downey, president of the Organization. "Our members are very well established. We use this and our numbers as a group to negotiate aggressive terms, discounts and service levels for our members. Because of the quality and buying power of our members we are very selective in our choice of vendors. We choose vendors who have the capacity and strength to meet the ongoing needs of our members in terms of continuity, pricing, quality, product innovation and service. These are the essential qualities of our members and we expect and get the same from our vendors."
Downey went on to say: "Our show is very well received because it's easy and ‘hassle-free' to get to, the resort offers plenty of opportunities to relax and have some fun and the vendors, deals and people are all top class, focused and energized. What could be simpler and more worthwhile?"
Excellent pricing and terms aren't the only attractive features of the Organization. Advancing the business and industry knowledge of its members is a key component of the SJO mission. According to their website, "We support the working capital needs of our members along with their ongoing educational and networking needs."
The 2009 show offered members several opportunities to fine tune their business skills with seminars on cash management in troubled times and other industry related issues.
SJO membership is by invitation only. According to Downey, several prominent jewelers who qualified for membership and were guests at the show have now joined the group.