04282017Fri
Last updateTue, 25 Apr 2017 11pm
Voyager Brands up and running with bright ideas, creative new brands

Voyager Brands up and running with bright ideas, creative new brands

When Shreyansh Shah arrived from India, he was loo...

Retailer Roundtable: What was your most successful Mother’s Day promotion?

Retailer Roundtable: What was your most successful Mother’s Day promotion?

Q: What was your most successful Mother’s Day prom...

Libby Brown named new Executive Director of Atlanta Jewelry Show

Libby Brown named new Executive Director of Atlanta Jewelry Show

Carol Young steps down after 20 years  

(ATLANTA) - T...

GA jeweler fosters, develops jewelry designing talent

GA jeweler fosters, develops jewelry designing talent

When Douglas Meadows was looking to phase out PAND...

Other News

PGI takes a look at breathtaking and iconic platinum engagement rings

PGI takes a look at breathtaking and iconic platinum engagement rings

Royalty and Hollywood celebrities are known for gifting their betrothed with the most opulent and exquisite platinum engagement rings. From Queen Elizabeth’s solitaire diamond to Elizabeth Taylor’s 29.4-carat diamond, these baubles were all set in pl...

Readmore

Loading...

Industry Events

Jewelers for Children to celebrate 5th annual Rings of Strength

Jewelers for Children to celebrate 5th annual Rings of Strength

The fifth edition of the popular Jewelers for Children Rings of Strength will be held on Sunday, June 4, at Mandalay Bay Resort Casino in Las Vegas, NV.  The very popular event includes options for a 5K walk or run, a 50K challenging bike ride in the...

Readmore

Loading...

On The Move

Kim International appoints new Sales Manager for Midwest region

Kim International appoints new Sales Manager for Midwest region

Kim International Manufacturing, L.P. is pleased to announce that Bill Reilly has been appointed as their new Upper-Midwest Region Sales Manager. He will be covering the states of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota. Bill brings 30 plu...

Readmore

Loading...

What's New

Gesswein introduces the PUK4c welder with SM03 Scope

Gesswein introduces the PUK4c welder with SM03 Scope

The PUK4c precision welder is a compact and versatile TIG impulse welder. Fine and minute welds are carried out under a 10x welding microscope (SM03 Microscope). Very close to laser welding, the PUK4c allows the exact positioning of small, stable spo...

Readmore

Loading...

Featured Articles

Stuller, Inc. wraps up annual Bench Jeweler Workshop

Stuller, Inc. wraps up annual Bench Jeweler Workshop

Jyothi Forman walks away with overall win

(LAFAYETTE, La.) - Stuller hosted their annual Bench Jeweler Workshop this past weekend welcoming more than 200 jewelers from across the country to its global headquarters in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Readmore

Loading...

Latest News

PGI takes a look at breathtaking and iconic platinum engagement rings

2 DAYS AGO
PGI takes a look at breathtaking and iconic platinum engagement rings

Royalty and Hollywood celebrities are known for gifting their betrothed with the most opulent and exquisite platinum engagement rings. From Queen Elizabeth’s solitaire diamond to Elizabeth Taylor’s 29.4-carat diamond, these baubles were all set in platinum, a highly secure setting for their valuable...

Readmore

Origin of gold stash found in piano remains a mystery

2 DAYS AGO
Origin of gold stash found in piano remains a mystery

LONDON (AP) —  British officials say they've been unable to trace the rightful heirs to a trove of gold coins found stashed inside a piano and worth a "life-changing" amount of money.

Readmore

Jewelers for Children to celebrate 5th annual Rings of Strength

2 DAYS AGO
Jewelers for Children to celebrate 5th annual Rings of Strength

The fifth edition of the popular Jewelers for Children Rings of Strength will be held on Sunday, June 4, at Mandalay Bay Resort Casino in Las Vegas, NV.  The very popular event includes options for a 5K walk or run, a 50K challenging bike ride in the scenic foothills of Red Rock Valley, or a street ...

Readmore

New jewelry show planned for Midwest

16 DAYS AGO
New jewelry show planned for Midwest

New Horizons Jewelry Show to be held August 19-21

Jewelry manufacturers, retailers and other industry professionals will come together for the launch of a new event this August in Columbus, Ohio. “The New Horizons Jewelry Show is the only show serving the Midwest and will feature more than 250 booths...

Readmore

Kim International appoints new Sales Manager for Midwest region

2 DAYS AGO
Kim International appoints new Sales Manager for Midwest region

Kim International Manufacturing, L.P. is pleased to announce that Bill Reilly has been appointed as their new Upper-Midwest Region Sales Manager. He will be covering the states of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota. Bill brings 30 plus years of experience calling on the independent j...

Readmore

Jewelers of America expands IDEX partnership

9 DAYS AGO
Jewelers of America expands IDEX partnership

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, has expanded its partnership with IDEX, the International Diamond Exchange.

Readmore

Gesswein introduces the PUK4c welder with SM03 Scope

2 DAYS AGO
Gesswein introduces the PUK4c welder with SM03 Scope

The PUK4c precision welder is a compact and versatile TIG impulse welder. Fine and minute welds are carried out under a 10x welding microscope (SM03 Microscope). Very close to laser welding, the PUK4c allows the exact positioning of small, stable spot-welds or welds in hard-to-get-to or deep lying p...

Readmore

Ed Levin Jewelry introduces Summer Dance Collection

2 DAYS AGO
Ed Levin Jewelry introduces Summer Dance Collection

(CAMBRIDGE, N.Y.) - Ed Levin Jewelry, shaping American design since 1950®, invites you to get in a summer mood with Summer Dance, Ed Levin Jewelry’s latest collection of new designs.

Readmore

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.

 

teds-store-nov
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.

teds_staff_nov

“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..


Columnist


×