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Last updateSun, 01 Mar 2015 8pm
From flea markets to estate jewelry market leader

From flea markets to estate jewelry market leader

With Millennials marrying in record numbers, “some...

Take a proactive approach to jewelry retailing

OJA seminar to offer sales techniques, JA certific...

Dorothy Burke, co-founder of Burkes Fine Jewelers in Kilmarnock, VA dies at 90

Dorothy Burke, co-founder of Burkes Fine Jewelers in Kilmarnock, VA dies at 90

Dorothy Lee Thrift Burke, 90, co-founder of Burkes...

AJA, GJA to co-host annual Convention April 10 – 12

AJA, GJA to co-host annual Convention April 10 – 12

The Alabama Jewelers Association (AJA) and Georgia...

Jewelers of America names 2015 GEM Awards winners

Jewelers of America names 2015 GEM Awards winners

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers of America (JA), the national...

Elisa Ilana’s Lollies Collection has something for everyone

Elisa Ilana’s Lollies Collection has something for everyone

(OMAHA, Neb.) - The Elisa Ilana Collection offers d...

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AISociety AiCertify-2015 debuts with a Global Valuation Standard

The AISociety - Appraisers International Society (AIS) began live and self-study global, online, offerings of AiCertification™2015 at the start of Feb...

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Cas-Ker Company releases 8th edition catalog

(CINCINNATI) - The Cas-ker Company has released the eighth edition of its Tools and Supplies for Jewelers and Watchmakers. The new edition comes with a...

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Dorothy Burke, co-founder of Burkes Fine Jewelers in Kilmarnock, VA dies at 90

27 DAYS AGO
Dorothy Burke, co-founder of Burkes Fine Jewelers in Kilmarnock, VA dies at 90

Dorothy Lee Thrift Burke, 90, co-founder of Burkes Fine Jewelers in Kilmarnock, Virginia - a family owned and operated fine jewelry and repair store - died on December 31, 2014.

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AISociety AiCertify-2015 debuts with a Global Valuation Standard

28 DAYS AGO

The AISociety - Appraisers International Society (AIS) began live and self-study global, online, offerings of AiCertification™2015 at the start of February with the live, AiResidence sessions of its 5-course series of Valuation Appraisal courses to AIStandard v4.0 for gems, jewelry, watches and othe...

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AJA, GJA to co-host annual Convention April 10 – 12

27 DAYS AGO
AJA, GJA to co-host annual Convention April 10 – 12

The Alabama Jewelers Association (AJA) and Georgia Jewelers Association (GJA) wish to invite all retail jewelers and vendors to the 2015 annual co-hosted Convention at Marriott’s Grand National Resort & Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Opelika, Alabama.

The educational program features industry s...

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Take a proactive approach to jewelry retailing

27 DAYS AGO

OJA seminar to offer sales techniques, JA certification opportunity

The Oklahoma Jewelers Association (OJA) invites retail jewelers in Oklahoma and surrounding states to attend a seminar developed to enhance sales techniques targeting today’s multiple generations of jewelry buyers.

Lynn Baldwin and Darc...

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Bulova celebrating 140th anniversary in 2015

27 DAYS AGO

Esteemed watchmaker commemorates 140 years of consistent creativity and innovation

(NEW YORK) - Since 1875, Bulova has been renowned as a force for innovation in timekeeping, known for its dedication to creativity, artistry and craftsmanship. In 2015, to mark 140 years of impressive achievements and a...

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Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company earns 28 consecutive A+ Superior Ratings from A.M. Best Company

27 DAYS AGO

(NEENAH, Wis.) - Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company has earned 28 consecutive A+ Superior financial strength ratings from A.M. Best Company, a highly respected insurance rating and information source. Founded in 1913, Jewelers Mutual is an insurer dedicated solely to serving the jewelry industry in th...

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Cas-Ker Company releases 8th edition catalog

27 DAYS AGO

(CINCINNATI) - The Cas-ker Company has released the eighth edition of its Tools and Supplies for Jewelers and Watchmakers. The new edition comes with an expanded collection of equipment from it’s seventh edition release in 2013, and contains new reference material for watchmakers and jewelers to make...

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GIA to issue revised Colored Stone and Pearl Reports

27 DAYS AGO

(CARLSBAD, Calif.) - GIA has announced, effective Feb. 1, they began issuing revised Colored Stone and Pearl Reports and launched Report Check enhancements. The revised reports feature improved gemstone images and language that reflects the most current gemological terminology. Report Check for color...

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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.

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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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