07052015Sun
Last updateTue, 30 Jun 2015 12pm
Padgett elected President of NC Jewelers Association

Padgett elected President of NC Jewelers Association

The North Carolina Jewelers Association (NCJA) ann...

Schnack’s Fine Jewelry turns 150

Schnack’s Fine Jewelry turns 150

Not many jewelry retailers can say their store ope...

From Vicenza with Love: At Oro International, Italian family values shine

From Vicenza with Love: At Oro International, Italian family values shine

Fifty years ago, Qurino Ruzza, with 20 years as a ...

Mason-Kay Jade to make Atlanta Jewelry Show debut

Mason-Kay Jade to make Atlanta Jewelry Show debut

Mason-Kay Jade has been a leading fine jade jewelr...

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Ancient trade route shows gold's enduring power

Ancient trade route shows gold's enduring power

Researchers at the University of Southampton have found a prehistoric gold trade route between Ireland and southwest England. The route gives a glimps...

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Jewelers Mutual presents honors at National Sale Conference

Jewelers Mutual presents honors at National Sale Conference

(NEENAH, Wis.) - Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company recognized its top agencies and agents during the annual awards ceremony held at their National Sale...

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Ancient trade route shows gold's enduring power

4 DAYS AGO
Ancient trade route shows gold's enduring power

Researchers at the University of Southampton have found a prehistoric gold trade route between Ireland and southwest England. The route gives a glimpse into how ancient cultures regarded gold.

A new study has shed more light on how the value of gold has endured – and changed – since ancient times.

Arc...

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Colorado woman finds 8.52 carat diamond in Arkansas state park

4 DAYS AGO
Colorado woman finds 8.52 carat diamond in Arkansas state park

MURFREESBORO, Ark. –  An 8.52 carat diamond has been found by a Colorado woman at Arkansas' Crater of Diamonds State Park at Murfreesboro.

Park officials said Friday that the gem found by Bobbie Oskarson of Longmont, Colorado, is the fifth largest diamond found since the park was established in 1972....

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From Jewels to Tools: Ivan Levi to speak on enhancing business practices at RJO Show in August

4 DAYS AGO
From Jewels to Tools: Ivan Levi to speak on enhancing business practices at RJO Show in August

(HIGHLAND PARK, Ill.) - The jewelry industry has seen changes in the way business is being done since the advent of the Internet, and especially since the economic downturn began in 2007. Ivan Levi’s quest to find answers to questions about these changes led him to discover how one specific, yet easy...

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Rings of Strength collects over $60,000 for JFC

4 DAYS AGO
Rings of Strength collects over $60,000 for JFC

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers for Children (JFC) held the 3rd Annual Rings of Strength Tour on Thursday, May 28, at Mandalay Bay Resort Casino in Las Vegas, NV. More than 125 participants assembled at 5:30 a.m. to either walk or run 5K, or bike one of two courses, a leisurely 15K route or a challenging 50K r...

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Padgett elected President of NC Jewelers Association

4 DAYS AGO
Padgett elected President of NC Jewelers Association

The North Carolina Jewelers Association (NCJA) announced that Brad Padgett, an independent jeweler and native of Jacksonville, North Carolina, is the new president of the statewide association. His two-year term of office as the organization’s president began May 16.

Padgett graduated with a B.S.B.A....

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Two Houston jewelers named Distinction Winners in Houston Better Business Bureau Awards for Excellence

4 DAYS AGO
Two Houston jewelers named Distinction Winners in Houston Better Business Bureau Awards for Excellence

(HOUSTON, Tex.) - Houston Jewelry and Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon were among the businesses recognized at the annual Houston Better Business Bureau Awards of Excellence held in May. Both businesses were named Distinction Winners, a designation awarded to businesses that maintain a superior commitment to...

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In tune with the times? New Unisex Ring Collection keeps the beat

4 DAYS AGO
In tune with the times? New Unisex Ring Collection keeps the beat

Designed by Elaine of Esprit Creations

New to SJTA and the Atlanta Jewelry Show, family business Esprit Creations has been successfully manufacturing and wholesaling fine sterling silver jewelry with genuine gemstones for over 2 decades. Standing apart from the ordinary, their wide selection of exclu...

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Mason-Kay Jade to make Atlanta Jewelry Show debut

4 DAYS AGO
Mason-Kay Jade to make Atlanta Jewelry Show debut

Mason-Kay Jade has been a leading fine jade jewelry wholesaler/supplier/designer in the United States since 1976. The company specializes in all natural (type “A”) jadeite jade fine jewelry, designed in-house by their exclusive designer Kristina and MK design team. Mason-Kay Jade is excited to intro...

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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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