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JA fights for jewelers on Capitol Hill

JA fights for jewelers on Capitol Hill

Association continues to promote industry policy p...

Drive-through jewelry store?

Drive-through jewelry store?

With no serious injuries and a great attitude, own...

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Not a girl’s only best friend

Not a girl’s only best friend

One of my favorite shows on TV is ESPN’s series 30 for 30. They are mini documentaries about important historical moments in sports, with the tagline “What if I told you…” The directors proceed to present a story the audience believes they know, only...

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Industry Events

Top 5 Reasons to attend JCK Las Vegas

Top 5 Reasons to attend JCK Las Vegas

(NORWALK, Conn.) - The countdown to Las Vegas Jewelry Week has begun. With 2 weeks left until show time, JCK Las Vegas has announced some attributes, features, and amenities that indicate both their readiness and allure. Here are the Top 5 Reasons not...

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On The Move

Adam Graham joins Omi Gems/Omi Privé

Adam Graham joins Omi Gems/Omi Privé

Jewelry industry veteran Adam Graham has joined Omi, Inc. as Director of Sales and Marketing. In this new role, he will oversee the selling, marketing and public relations functions of the gemstone company and its fine jewelry division Omi Privé.

“We ...

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What's New

Time Delay Corp. launches new website

Time Delay Corp. launches new website

Offer TDC’s pre-owned Rolex on your website

Time Delay Corporation (TDC), a Dallas-based manufacturer of custom watch accessories and dealer in pre-owned Rolex watches, is pleased to announce the launch of a new website, www.pre-ownedwatches.us . The ne...

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Featured Articles

Retailer Roundtable: What was your best store promotion?

Retailer Roundtable: What was your best store promotion?

Q: What was your best store promotion?

“For a number of years we’ve held a VIP event and an 11-Hour Sale usually scheduled after Thanksgiving Day and before early December. The VIP event is like a customer appreciation event in that we cater to our to...

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Latest News

Not a girl’s only best friend

23 HOURS AGO
Not a girl’s only best friend

One of my favorite shows on TV is ESPN’s series 30 for 30. They are mini documentaries about important historical moments in sports, with the tagline “What if I told you…” The directors proceed to present a story the audience believes they know, only to reveal there is more than meets the eye. I’ve ...

Readmore

The SJG Smart Business Report

1 DAY AGO

Sponsored content from the Southern Jewelers Guild

Obstructionist: (noun) 1. a person who deliberately delays or prevents progress.

There are certain times of the year when topics for our SJG Smart Business Report just scream, “write about me!” and this month is one of those. There are actually several...

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Top 5 Reasons to attend JCK Las Vegas

13 DAYS AGO
Top 5 Reasons to attend JCK Las Vegas

(NORWALK, Conn.) - The countdown to Las Vegas Jewelry Week has begun. With 2 weeks left until show time, JCK Las Vegas has announced some attributes, features, and amenities that indicate both their readiness and allure. Here are the Top 5 Reasons not to miss JCK Las Vegas 2016 (Friday, June 3 - Mond...

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GIA announces dates for New York Jewelry Career Fair

20 DAYS AGO
GIA announces dates for New York Jewelry Career Fair

GIA’s Jewelry Career Fair will return to New York City on Monday, July 25, 2016. Dozens of gem and jewelry companies will be looking to hire skilled and motivated professionals at every career stage. The free event is expected to draw crowds similar to last year’s event in New York, which attracted ...

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Adam Graham joins Omi Gems/Omi Privé

20 HOURS AGO
Adam Graham joins Omi Gems/Omi Privé

Jewelry industry veteran Adam Graham has joined Omi, Inc. as Director of Sales and Marketing. In this new role, he will oversee the selling, marketing and public relations functions of the gemstone company and its fine jewelry division Omi Privé.

“We are thrilled to have Adam join us at this stage in...

Readmore

AGS names Scott Berg new President, appoints Board of Directors

23 HOURS AGO
AGS names Scott Berg new President, appoints Board of Directors

(LAS VEGAS) - The American Gem Society (AGS) elected Scott Berg, Certified Gemologist (CG) of Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry in Baton Rouge, LA, as President of the Society’s Board of Directors, assuming the role from outgoing president, Louis Smith, CG, of Smithworks Fine Jewelry. The appointment was mad...

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Time Delay Corp. launches new website

20 HOURS AGO
Time Delay Corp. launches new website

Offer TDC’s pre-owned Rolex on your website

Time Delay Corporation (TDC), a Dallas-based manufacturer of custom watch accessories and dealer in pre-owned Rolex watches, is pleased to announce the launch of a new website, www.pre-ownedwatches.us . The new site allows retailers to offer TDC pre-owned Rol...

Readmore

Michou Jewelry announces marriage of two popular collections

6 DAYS AGO
Michou Jewelry announces marriage of two popular collections

When Michou Jewelry founder Michele Sonner thinks back, the seeds of a relationship began over a decade ago, when Michou unveiled the first pieces in its One-of-a-Kind collection.

Michou Jewelry has always been a gem-focused line, thanks to Sonner’s early training as a gemologist, which instilled a d...

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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.

 

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..


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