01172017Tue
Last updateWed, 11 Jan 2017 7pm
How will Trump’s election affect retail jewelers?

How will Trump’s election affect retail jewelers?

President-elect Donald Trump has been in the publi...

Retailer Roundtable: What is your outlook for the industry in 2017?

Retailer Roundtable: What is your outlook for the industry in 2017?

Q: What is your outlook for the industry in 2017?  

“...

ASHI launches #LovebrightValentine Sweepstakes

ASHI launches #LovebrightValentine Sweepstakes

 

(NEW YORK) - After receiving a “fantastic response...

Greg Lynn discovers art in the midst of struggle

Greg Lynn discovers art in the midst of struggle

When Greg Lynn’s parents were transferred from Nor...

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24K Club SEUS accepting applications for 2017 scholarships

24K Club SEUS accepting applications for 2017 scholarships

The 24 Karat Club Southeastern United States (SEUS) is pleased to announce that applications are currently being accepted for multiple scholarships. Individuals employed in the jewelry industry for a minimum of 2 years, currently working in the indus...

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Industry Events

Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair coming in February

Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair coming in February

The Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), the Ministry of Commerce of the Royal Thai government has extended an invitation for U.S. jewelers to visit the upcoming 59th Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair 2017. The Fair will be held February...

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On The Move

Stuller commits to promoting health and wellness in Louisiana

Stuller commits to promoting health and wellness in Louisiana

Company designated as a top-level WellSpot

(LAFAYETTE, La.) - Stuller is proud to announce that they have been named a level one WellSpot by Well-Ahead Louisiana, an initiative started by the Louisiana Department of Health.

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What's New

MJSA launches Council of Custom Jewelers as part of new Custom Design program

MJSA launches Council of Custom Jewelers as part of new Custom Design program

MJSA, a trade association dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design, has introduced the MJSA Council of Custom Jewelers as part of a wide-ranging program to advance the art and consumer appreciation of custom jewelry design.

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Featured Articles

Female wounded warrior finds passion, career and calling in jewelry

Female wounded warrior finds passion, career and calling in jewelry

There are many paths to finding the right career. Most are predictable, but sometimes the path becomes clear only through adversity. Richard Branson, whose net worth of $4.9 billion makes him nearly 10 times wealthier than Queen Elizabeth II, dropped...

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Latest News

24K Club SEUS accepting applications for 2017 scholarships

5 DAYS AGO
24K Club SEUS accepting applications for 2017 scholarships

The 24 Karat Club Southeastern United States (SEUS) is pleased to announce that applications are currently being accepted for multiple scholarships. Individuals employed in the jewelry industry for a minimum of 2 years, currently working in the industry and holding residence in the following states ...

Readmore

Police searching for suspects in $6M New Years Eve jewelry heist

12 DAYS AGO
Police searching for suspects in $6M New Years Eve jewelry heist

Three jewel thieves ended 2016 with a $6 million score, raiding safes at a Midtown jewelry wholesaler just after the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve.

Authorities believe the heist was an inside job, police sources said, since the thieves didn’t even have to crack the safes when they got inside.

“The sa...

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Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair coming in February

12 DAYS AGO
Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair coming in February

The Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), the Ministry of Commerce of the Royal Thai government has extended an invitation for U.S. jewelers to visit the upcoming 59th Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair 2017. The Fair will be held February 22-26, 2017 at the IMPACT Exhibition & Conven...

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GIA’s annual Board and Research meetings bring together international experts

14 DAYS AGO
GIA’s annual Board and Research meetings bring together international experts

Board welcomes Barbara Dutrow and Stephen Kahler; honors Aron Suna and Hank Siegel for their 16 years of combined service

(CARLSBAD, Calif.) - GIA’s Board of Governors inducted Dr. Barbara Dutrow, Adolphe G. Gueymard Professor of Geology at Louisiana State University; and Stephen Kahler, senior vice p...

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Stuller commits to promoting health and wellness in Louisiana

5 DAYS AGO
Stuller commits to promoting health and wellness in Louisiana

Company designated as a top-level WellSpot

(LAFAYETTE, La.) - Stuller is proud to announce that they have been named a level one WellSpot by Well-Ahead Louisiana, an initiative started by the Louisiana Department of Health.

Readmore

U.S. Kimberley Process Authority appoints IGI’s Jerry Ehrenwald to Board

18 DAYS AGO
U.S. Kimberley Process Authority appoints IGI’s Jerry Ehrenwald to Board

(NEW YORK) - The United States Kimberley Process Authority (USKPA), the not-for-profit organization that administers the use of Kimberley Process certificates for exports of rough diamonds from the U.S., announced that Jerry Ehrenwald, G.G., A.S.A, president and CEO of the International Gemological I...

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MJSA launches Council of Custom Jewelers as part of new Custom Design program

5 DAYS AGO
MJSA launches Council of Custom Jewelers as part of new Custom Design program

MJSA, a trade association dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design, has introduced the MJSA Council of Custom Jewelers as part of a wide-ranging program to advance the art and consumer appreciation of custom jewelry design.

Readmore

LaserStar introduces the FiberCube Compact

5 DAYS AGO
LaserStar introduces the FiberCube Compact

LaserStar Technologies, U.S. manufacturer of laser systems and solutions for laser engraving, laser welding and laser cutting specifically designed for jewelry production and repair, is pleased to introduce the 3802 Series FiberStar Compact Laser Engraving System.

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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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