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Is this the first coin ever minted by the U.S. government?

Is this the first coin ever minted by the U.S. government?

Historic coin experts say they have found the first silver piece minted by the US and believe it was likely held by Founding Father — and founder of The Post — Alexander Hamilton.

David McCarthy, a senior researcher for the coin and collectibles firm ...

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Industry Events

Rio Grande issues Saul Bell Design Award 2018 Call for Entries

Rio Grande issues Saul Bell Design Award 2018 Call for Entries

Rio Grande is pleased to announce its call for entries for the 2018 Saul Bell Design Award. Now in its 18th year, the international competition challenges designers to pick up their tools and make their mark on the jewelry industry.

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On The Move

John Ford continues award-winning streak with 2017 AGTA Spectrum Award

John Ford continues award-winning streak with 2017 AGTA Spectrum Award

(GALVESTON, Tex.) - John Ford triumphed again in two categories in the American Gem Trade Association’s 2017 Spectrum Awards. Ford won Platinum Honors in both the Evening Wear Division and the Business/Day Wear Division. The Spectrum Awards is said to...

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What's New

R Findings launches their latest “That Was Easy” website

R Findings launches their latest “That Was Easy” website

(ROCHESTER, N.Y.) - For 65 years R Findings has strived to provide the jewelry industry with products that save time and money, and to provide solutions. Their latest effort toward this goal is their new “That Was Easy” website.

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Featured Articles

Retailer Roundtable:  What are your biggest hiring challenges?

Retailer Roundtable: What are your biggest hiring challenges?

Q:    What are your biggest hiring challenges?

“I’ve been in business for 30 years and hiring challenges have remained pretty consistent throughout that time - finding a sales associate that has an understanding and love of jewelry. One of the most comm...

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Latest News

Is this the first coin ever minted by the U.S. government?

5 DAYS AGO
Is this the first coin ever minted by the U.S. government?

Historic coin experts say they have found the first silver piece minted by the US and believe it was likely held by Founding Father — and founder of The Post — Alexander Hamilton.

David McCarthy, a senior researcher for the coin and collectibles firm Kagin’s, figured the 1783 silver coin had to be on...

Readmore

Greene Family Jewelers featured on DIY Network’s “Treehouse Guys”

5 DAYS AGO
Greene Family Jewelers featured on DIY Network’s “Treehouse Guys”

(ASHEVILLE, N.C.) - It’s ok if you call Michael Greene a tree-hugger. While you might not find him with his arms wrapped around a maple, the vacation home he built in Weaverville, NC, is nestled in a tree (actually, three trees) and its massive deck was built around the trees’ branches and trunks.

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Rio Grande issues Saul Bell Design Award 2018 Call for Entries

5 DAYS AGO
Rio Grande issues Saul Bell Design Award 2018 Call for Entries

Rio Grande is pleased to announce its call for entries for the 2018 Saul Bell Design Award. Now in its 18th year, the international competition challenges designers to pick up their tools and make their mark on the jewelry industry.

Readmore

Dunkin’s Diamonds wins ASHI’s I DO Bridal Sweepstakes

5 DAYS AGO
Dunkin’s Diamonds wins ASHI’s I DO Bridal Sweepstakes

Announces launch of Lovebright Sweepstakes  

(NEW YORK) - ASHI announced the winner of their most recent I DO Bridal Sweepstakes. Among all participating retailers, Dunkin’s Diamonds in Ohio had the highest number of participant entries and the winner was randomly selected from their customer participa...

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John Ford continues award-winning streak with 2017 AGTA Spectrum Award

5 DAYS AGO
John Ford continues award-winning streak with 2017 AGTA Spectrum Award

(GALVESTON, Tex.) - John Ford triumphed again in two categories in the American Gem Trade Association’s 2017 Spectrum Awards. Ford won Platinum Honors in both the Evening Wear Division and the Business/Day Wear Division. The Spectrum Awards is said to be the Oscars of the jewelry industry - the most ...

Readmore

Darling Imports celebrates milestone anniversary

12 DAYS AGO
Darling Imports celebrates milestone anniversary

“Thanks for the last 25 years!”

For over the last two decades, Darling Imports has proudly supplied the gemstone community with gorgeous color. From humble beginnings of a basement in Hampton, Georgia ,“Mr. D,” Harold Darling, and Konrad Darling started this company focusing on top service and a pass...

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R Findings launches their latest “That Was Easy” website

12 DAYS AGO
R Findings launches their latest “That Was Easy” website

(ROCHESTER, N.Y.) - For 65 years R Findings has strived to provide the jewelry industry with products that save time and money, and to provide solutions. Their latest effort toward this goal is their new “That Was Easy” website.

Readmore

Roseco offering moissanite with graded certificate

12 DAYS AGO
Roseco offering moissanite with graded certificate

Roseco Inc. has announced they are now offering Charles and Colvard® Forever One™ moissanite that is certified D, E or F and graded by Precision Gem Grading Laboratory, an independent third-party lab. This certificate, packaged with each stone, allows the retail jeweler to make the same professional...

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Furry friends on the job: Kozzi of Norridge Jewelers

5 DAYS AGO
Furry friends on the job: Kozzi of Norridge Jewelers

Meet the hostess of Norridge Jewelers in Norridge, Illinois.  Kozzi has been greeting customers for seven years. She has made such an impression on her customers that they return bearing gifts - dog treats! She loves her job and puts a smile on the face of everyone she meets - whether in person or o...

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Furry friends on the job: Snorkel Sam Botnick - Worthmore Jewelers

12 DAYS AGO
Furry friends on the job: Snorkel Sam Botnick - Worthmore Jewelers

Introducing Snorkel Sam Botnick. The fur baby of Harris and Geri Botnick, owners of Worthmore Jewelers in Atlanta. Snorkle Sam is the official greeter and general manager of human resources. Conquering the jewelry industry on four paws and with no thumbs, he assists with the all around well being of...

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From Big Apple to Peanut Capital, Ed Lafontaine comes full circle

Something special happens when an ‘infamous’ industry insider combines his talent and experience with a long-standing, highly regarded independent southern retailer. The result is nothing less than award-winning magic.

Such is the case with Ed Lafontaine and Ted’s Jewelers. The winning combination started almost one year ago and the partnership proves everyday just how successful the right business coupled with effective leadership can be.

Ted’s Jewelers, located in Dothan, Alabama was established in 1939. As one of the largest and most respected jewelers in the region, they were proud of their stellar reputation. Building a customer base that spanned three generations and crossed three states meant a lot to the company. In the fall of 2007, Lafontaine was tapped to temporarily join the team - and he’s never left. The self-professed ‘independent’ had earned his ‘stripes’ the hard way – on the road. For years he excelled as a traveling sales representative, even being asked to establish new divisions dedicated to the independent retailer at several major manufacturers.

 

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Ted’s Jewelers has been serving Dothan, AL for nearly 40 years.

 

But it wasn’t until he started with Ted’s that he crossed over to the ‘other side of the counter’ and, officially, became an independent retailer.

“I’ve always been an independent at heart, and I’ll always be one. I believe relationships are vital to the success of an independent. Not just with customers either. It is also the relationship with your employees and suppliers,” states Ed.

As a man who starts each day with “It’s great to be alive,” it only takes one conversation to feel Ed’s enthusiasm and love for his store and the jewelry industry.

“Someone once told me that the jewelry business is a profession, not an occupation, and I have held to that as I moved through my career,” states Ed.

Having started in the industry with Gordon’s Jewelers in 1972, Ed quickly made a retail name for himself as he moved up the corporate ladder. Through a series of company changes and promotions he found himself on the other side of the counter as a manufacturing representative. He became well versed in the form and function of the independent by calling on them for 22 years. When retail owner Jerry Lake (owner of Carter’s Jewelers in Jackson, Mississippi) called Ed asking him to ‘try’ the position at Ted’s, the offer was very appealing. Returning to his retail roots appealed to Ed.

“At the time Jerry contacted me I was working out of New York and had been for some time. People thought I was crazy to leave the Big Apple for the Peanut Capital of the World, but to me it’s been like going home,” states Ed.

With 12,000 square feet of showroom and more than $3 million in inventory, ‘home’ doesn’t sound like a bad place to be. In addition to an extensive jewelry selection, Ted’s boasts more than 87 china place settings as well as top name brands in crystal (Waterford, Swarovski). But for Ed, it is the people who make the store home.

“It’s our people - our staff - that make this store special. Together they have over 100 years of retail jewelry experience. And, they act on behalf of each customer that walks in the door. Everyone in this store considers themselves a ‘personal jeweler’ to each and every customer,” comments Ed.

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“It’s our people... that make this store special,” says Ed laFontaine (center) of Ted’s Jewelers.

Understanding the challenges that face independents is one of Ed’s strong points. With years of experience spent listening to owners, he understands that it is hard for them to compete with the chains. But he reminds them that the time of the independent is now.

“Being able to hand select inventory for your customers, town or region as well as building personal relationships with them is what makes an independent more appealing than a chain store. People buy from people and, at the end of the day, when the purchase means a lot to them, it is human contact that they want. Many things have changed in the industry over the last 35 years, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is the emotion in what we do.”

And Ted’s Jewelers does evoke emotion. Whether it is loyalty and admiration for a family-owned company that’s been in business for more than 39 years, or the heart-felt satisfaction of having a second or third generation doing business with the same company as their great grandfather; either way the feelings are good. After all, customers who don’t know jewelry need to know a good jeweler.

Be sure to give Ed a call at 334-794-0686 or drop him an e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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