10242017Tue
Last updateWed, 18 Oct 2017 12am
Sandy Jones jewelry career comes full circle

Sandy Jones jewelry career comes full circle

They say never burn a bridge you may need to cross...

Remembering Janel Russell, creator of Mother and Child Jewelry

Remembering Janel Russell, creator of Mother and Child Jewelry

Motherhood defined much of Janel Russell’s life, b...

Reason to Hope: Jewelry industry steps up to help natural disaster victims

Reason to Hope: Jewelry industry steps up to help natural disaster victims

It’s so easy to get sucked into choosing a side. T...

Other News

The psychology of the allure of gold

The psychology of the allure of gold

When you think of the color gold, images of grandeur and extravagance are likely to come to mind.

For millennia, the metal has adorned crowns and hilts of swords. It has been used to enhance paintings and ornaments to increase their value.

In some cult...

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Industry Events

Initiatives in Art & Culture announces 19th Annual Fashion + Design Conference: “White: Palette, Prism, Possibility”

Initiatives in Art & Culture announces 19th Annual Fashion + Design Conference: “White: Palette, Prism, Possibility”

Conference to be held November 10 & 11, 2017 at CUNY Graduate Center, New York City

Initiatives in Art & Culture (IAC), an organization committed to educating diverse audiences in the fine, decorative, and visual arts, has announced their 19th...

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On The Move

Paul Machiels, owner of Charms Plus, to retire 37-year industry veteran seeking to sell wholesale business

Paul Machiels, owner of Charms Plus, to retire 37-year industry veteran seeking to sell wholesale business

Paul Machiels, who has spent the last 37 years selling jewelry, chains, and charms to retail stores, has announced his retirement. His announcement coincides with his intention to sell JKM Enterprises, parent company of Charms Plus, to interested buy...

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What's New

Merit Diamond introduces MFIT®

Merit Diamond introduces MFIT®

Innovative men’s wedding bands designed with maximum comfort in mind

Merit® Diamond, manufacturers of the popular, luxurious diamond fashion line Sirena®, has developed and tested their supremely comfortable men’s MFIT® wedding band line over the past...

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Featured Articles

Alamea Hawaii’s appeal washes deep into America with elegance & beauty of the sea

Alamea Hawaii’s appeal washes deep into America with elegance & beauty of the sea

One doesn’t have to live in paradise to appreciate and crave a piece of it. With this in mind, Alamea Hawaii brings the beauty of Hawaii and beyond to inner America with elegant and fashionable designs for jewelers and retailers, inspired by the most...

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Latest News

The psychology of the allure of gold

5 DAYS AGO
The psychology of the allure of gold

When you think of the color gold, images of grandeur and extravagance are likely to come to mind.

For millennia, the metal has adorned crowns and hilts of swords. It has been used to enhance paintings and ornaments to increase their value.

In some cultures, gold is a predominant feature of festivals a...

Readmore

Scientists believe cosmic collision reveals origins of gold

5 DAYS AGO
Scientists believe cosmic collision reveals origins of gold

WASHINGTON (AP) — It was a faint signal, but it told of one of the most violent acts in the universe, and it would soon reveal secrets of the cosmos, including how gold was created.

Astronomers around the world reacted to the signal quickly, focusing telescopes located on every continent and even in ...

Readmore

Initiatives in Art & Culture announces 19th Annual Fashion + Design Conference: “White: Palette, Prism, Possibility”

5 DAYS AGO
Initiatives in Art & Culture announces 19th Annual Fashion + Design Conference: “White: Palette, Prism, Possibility”

Conference to be held November 10 & 11, 2017 at CUNY Graduate Center, New York City

Initiatives in Art & Culture (IAC), an organization committed to educating diverse audiences in the fine, decorative, and visual arts, has announced their 19th Annual Fashion + Design Conference will be held N...

Readmore

Andie Weinman sparkles in the City of Gold

13 DAYS AGO
Andie Weinman sparkles in the City of Gold

Preferred Jewelers International CEO shares info on PJI and successful American retail strategies in Dubai

The City of Gold was the international backdrop for the Gemological Science International (GSI) presentation on ‘The Successful American Retail Strategies’ during DMCC Dubai on September 12, 201...

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Paul Machiels, owner of Charms Plus, to retire 37-year industry veteran seeking to sell wholesale business

22 DAYS AGO
Paul Machiels, owner of Charms Plus, to retire 37-year industry veteran seeking to sell wholesale business

Paul Machiels, who has spent the last 37 years selling jewelry, chains, and charms to retail stores, has announced his retirement. His announcement coincides with his intention to sell JKM Enterprises, parent company of Charms Plus, to interested buyers. His book of business continues to be lucrativ...

Readmore

Patrick Retzer joins the Color Merchants/Brevani family as V.P. of Sales

27 DAYS AGO
Patrick Retzer joins the Color Merchants/Brevani family as V.P. of Sales

(NEW YORK) - Brevani, the branded division of Color Merchants Inc. has announced they’ll be bringing on industry veteran Patrick Retzer to head up their sales division and oversee the brands direction.

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Merit Diamond introduces MFIT®

5 DAYS AGO
Merit Diamond introduces MFIT®

Innovative men’s wedding bands designed with maximum comfort in mind

Merit® Diamond, manufacturers of the popular, luxurious diamond fashion line Sirena®, has developed and tested their supremely comfortable men’s MFIT® wedding band line over the past 5 years. The patented brand provides men with “no...

Readmore

GN Diamond offering free Gemprint on all diamonds

13 DAYS AGO
GN Diamond offering free Gemprint on all diamonds

GN Diamond listens to the common pain points experienced by jewelers on a daily basis. Internet shopping is one of the biggest obstacles expressed by the brick and mortar store. By offering added value and annual savings through Gemprint, jewelers are now armed with a point of distinction against th...

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Furry friends on the job: Loki - Kingsbury Designs & Repairs, Clinton, Mississippi

5 DAYS AGO
Furry friends on the job: Loki - Kingsbury Designs & Repairs, Clinton, Mississippi

 

This is Loki. Loki works for David at Kingsbury Designs & Repairs in Clinton, Mississippi. David says Loki was named after the evil brother of Thor, but his customers love him anyway.

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Furry friends on the job: Larry at Douglas Jeweler in Hartford, Wisconsin

13 DAYS AGO
Furry friends on the job: Larry at Douglas Jeweler in Hartford, Wisconsin

Say hello to Larry, the mini golden doodle. Larry loves going to work with his “dad” and “grandpa” at Douglas Jeweler in Hartford, Wisconsin. Larry likes wearing his finest clothes to work and always greets everyone with a tail wag and kisses!

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The Marketing Minute: Trend Spotting

5 DAYS AGO

Marketing specialist George Prout produces a weekly marketing advice video for retail jewelers, The Monday Morning Marketing Minute. He’s generously agreed to let us share them with our eWeekly readers.

 

Click here  to see more of George Prout’s The Marketing Minute

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Marketing Minute: Pricing Strategy

13 DAYS AGO

Marketing specialist George Prout produces a weekly marketing advice video for retail jewelers, The Monday Morning Marketing Minute. He’s generously agreed to let us share them with our eWeekly readers.

 

Click here  to see more of George Prout’s The Marketing Minute

 

 

 

 

 

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..


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