04192018Thu
Last updateTue, 17 Apr 2018 11pm
Bead it on down the line

Bead it on down the line

A girls’ day out can do a lot for a woman, from re...

Retail Roundtable: What’s the most unusual request you’ve had from a customer?

Retail Roundtable: What’s the most unusual request you’ve had from a customer?

“I started working in this business on September 1...

Estate jeweler starts foundation, jewelry collection for niece

Estate jeweler starts foundation, jewelry collection for niece

When a young life ends abruptly - especially a per...

Steady attendance, serious buyers welcome spring at Atlanta Jewelry Show

Steady attendance, serious buyers welcome spring at Atlanta Jewelry Show

(ATLANTA)  - Steady attendance numbers coupled with ...

Other News

NRF/IBM study sheds light on what Gen Z shoppers really want

NRF/IBM study sheds light on what Gen Z shoppers really want

“What do Gen Z shoppers really want,” the third and final installment of a global study co-sponsored by the IBM Institute of Business Value and the National Retail Federation, examines what this youngest generation considers to be “retail essentials”...

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Industry Events

Innovative Musical Leadership Program to open GIA Symposium

Innovative Musical Leadership Program to open GIA Symposium

The Music Paradigm’s world-renowned music and learning program imparts leadership lessons of the symphony maestro

(CARLSBAD, Calif.) - The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) International Gemological Symposium, Oct. 7-9 in Carlsbad, CA, will includ...

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On The Move

Finalists and judges announced for 2018 Saul Bell Design Award

Finalists and judges announced for 2018 Saul Bell Design Award

Rio Grande, the organizer of the Saul Bell Design Award ( www.saulbellaward.com ), is pleased to announce the 45 finalists of the 2018 Saul Bell Design Award competition, as well as the two panels of experts tasked with judging the finalists’ work.

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What's New

GIA provides Melee Analysis Service

GIA provides Melee Analysis Service

Independently operated inside Stuller’s global headquarters

(LAFAYETTE, La.) - Stuller, Inc. is pleased to announce a new strategic service arrangement with GIA (Gemological Institute of America) by offering GIA’S Melee Analysis Service inside its glob...

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Featured Articles

Medford Chason’s treasures

Medford Chason’s treasures

As the saying goes, “one man gathers what another man spills.” In his early teens, enterprising young Medford Chason and his boyhood buddy excavated a garbage dump near his family’s tobacco farm in Southwest, GA that was closed in the early 1900s. Ov...

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Latest News

NRF/IBM study sheds light on what Gen Z shoppers really want

1 DAY AGO
NRF/IBM study sheds light on what Gen Z shoppers really want

“What do Gen Z shoppers really want,” the third and final installment of a global study co-sponsored by the IBM Institute of Business Value and the National Retail Federation, examines what this youngest generation considers to be “retail essentials” as well as what delights and engages them. The st...

Readmore

WJA announces free first-year memberships for students

1 DAY AGO
WJA announces free first-year memberships for students

A Gemological Science International (GSI) sponsorship is underwriting the project

(POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y.) - The Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) announced that it’s offering the first year of student membership free to students during 2018, thanks to a new sponsorship from Gemological Science Internatio...

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Innovative Musical Leadership Program to open GIA Symposium

8 DAYS AGO
Innovative Musical Leadership Program to open GIA Symposium

The Music Paradigm’s world-renowned music and learning program imparts leadership lessons of the symphony maestro

(CARLSBAD, Calif.) - The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) International Gemological Symposium, Oct. 7-9 in Carlsbad, CA, will include the debut - for the gem and jewelry industry - o...

Readmore

Jewelers Vigilance Committee announces 2018 webinar series

8 DAYS AGO
Jewelers Vigilance Committee announces 2018 webinar series

(NEW YORK) - The Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) will commence an important live webinar series beginning in May of 2018. This series is designed to help members of our industry avoid legal risks and implement legally compliant business practices. Mark your calendars now so you can catch each of t...

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Finalists and judges announced for 2018 Saul Bell Design Award

1 DAY AGO
Finalists and judges announced for 2018 Saul Bell Design Award

Rio Grande, the organizer of the Saul Bell Design Award ( www.saulbellaward.com ), is pleased to announce the 45 finalists of the 2018 Saul Bell Design Award competition, as well as the two panels of experts tasked with judging the finalists’ work.

Readmore

Joel McFadden Appointed Director of MJSA Council of Custom Jewelers

1 DAY AGO
Joel McFadden Appointed Director of MJSA Council of Custom Jewelers

MJSA, the trade alliance dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design, has appointed Joel McFadden as director of the MJSA Council of Custom Jewelers.

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GIA provides Melee Analysis Service

1 DAY AGO
GIA provides Melee Analysis Service

Independently operated inside Stuller’s global headquarters

(LAFAYETTE, La.) - Stuller, Inc. is pleased to announce a new strategic service arrangement with GIA (Gemological Institute of America) by offering GIA’S Melee Analysis Service inside its global headquarters in Lafayette, Louisiana. Melee use...

Readmore

AGS Laboratories now offers independent diamond cutter services

8 DAYS AGO
AGS Laboratories now offers independent diamond cutter services

(LAS VEGAS) - AGS Laboratories has engaged Advanced Diamonds, a Las Vegas diamond cutting service, in an effort to further support the needs of clients and AGS members by offering laser inscription removal and recutting services.

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The Marketing Minute: Trend Spotting

6 MONTHS 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

6 MONTHS 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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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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