06292016Wed
Last updateWed, 22 Jun 2016 1am
Drive-through jewelry store?

Drive-through jewelry store?

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

Hale’s Jewelers looks back on 160 years of business

Hale’s Jewelers looks back on 160 years of business

entrepreneur: a person who starts a business and is...

Not all was lost in the fire

Not all was lost in the fire

Namano salvages jewelry (and memories) scorched in...

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JBT Special Alert

Due to continued fraudulent ordering schemes, the Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT) would like to once again draw your attention to the following advice to assist you in avoiding being scammed by unscrupulous operators posing as legitimate jewelers.

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Industry Events

JCK Las Vegas, LUXURY and JIS Exchange glistened during a sweltering week in the desert

JCK Las Vegas, LUXURY and JIS Exchange glistened during a sweltering week in the desert

(NORWALK, Conn.) - Going out with the heat, JCK Las Vegas concluded its 26th edition on Monday, June 6. The show welcomed the best of the best in the jewelry industry with over 2,400 exhibiting brands and manufacturers, as well as an abundant lineup o...

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On The Move

Holojem wins first prize at JCK Think Tank

Holojem wins first prize at JCK Think Tank

Jewelers Mutual, Excelion Partners team up for 3D projection aimed at creating customized jewelry store experiences

(NEENAH, Wis.) - Holojem™, a Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company partnership with Excelion Partners, won first prize at JCK Las Vegas’ Thi...

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What's New

Hoover & Strong introduces white label diamond auction services

Hoover & Strong introduces white label diamond auction services

Hoover & Strong has announced a new white label auction service called myAuction™. This is an innovative service offered to jewelry retailers nationwide, allowing them to offer their own online auction service where their customers can sell their...

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Featured Articles

Retailer Roundtable:  At mid-year, how has 2016 been so far and what’s ahead?

Retailer Roundtable: At mid-year, how has 2016 been so far and what’s ahead?

At mid-year, how has 2016 been so far and what’s ahead?

“So far 2016 has been very strong for us. I’m very happy how things are going with our strongest sales in bridal jewelry and custom. Bridal got a significant boost when we began advertising long-...

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Latest News

JBT Special Alert

7 DAYS AGO

Due to continued fraudulent ordering schemes, the Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT) would like to once again draw your attention to the following advice to assist you in avoiding being scammed by unscrupulous operators posing as legitimate jewelers.

Readmore

Will Brexit Send Gold to $1,400

14 DAYS AGO
Will Brexit Send Gold to $1,400

Gold could climb as high as $1,400 a troy ounce if British residents vote to exit the European Union in a June 23 referendum, analysts at Capital Economics said.

A British exit from the EU would, by itself, not be a big deal, as the U.K. is likely to remain a member of the European Union for another ...

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JCK Las Vegas, LUXURY and JIS Exchange glistened during a sweltering week in the desert

7 DAYS AGO
JCK Las Vegas, LUXURY and JIS Exchange glistened during a sweltering week in the desert

(NORWALK, Conn.) - Going out with the heat, JCK Las Vegas concluded its 26th edition on Monday, June 6. The show welcomed the best of the best in the jewelry industry with over 2,400 exhibiting brands and manufacturers, as well as an abundant lineup of industry networking opportunities and informativ...

Readmore

Jewelers for Children celebrates 18 years, honors Stuart Lee and Dennis Ulrich

14 DAYS AGO
Jewelers for Children celebrates 18 years, honors Stuart Lee and Dennis Ulrich

(NEW YORK) - On June 5, 2016, Jewelers for Children (JFC) held the 18th Annual Facets of Hope event in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The charity announced that $3.1 million had been raised to support their charity partners in the year ahead and that since 1999 $51.4 million had bee...

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Holojem wins first prize at JCK Think Tank

14 DAYS AGO
Holojem wins first prize at JCK Think Tank

Jewelers Mutual, Excelion Partners team up for 3D projection aimed at creating customized jewelry store experiences

(NEENAH, Wis.) - Holojem™, a Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company partnership with Excelion Partners, won first prize at JCK Las Vegas’ Think Tank on Sunday, June 5.

Think Tank, an event hel...

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IGI named Curator-at-Large for Museum of Named Diamonds

21 DAYS AGO

(NEW YORK) - The International Gemological Institute (IGI) announced its designation as Curator-at-Large for the Museum of Named Diamonds, a non-profit organization established by the jewelry industry to serve as a single registry for the world’s named diamonds.

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Hoover & Strong introduces white label diamond auction services

7 DAYS AGO
Hoover & Strong introduces white label diamond auction services

Hoover & Strong has announced a new white label auction service called myAuction™. This is an innovative service offered to jewelry retailers nationwide, allowing them to offer their own online auction service where their customers can sell their jewelry items to industry qualified buyers. The s...

Readmore

Thorsten Jewelry expands line of inlaid exotic hardwood bands

7 DAYS AGO
Thorsten Jewelry expands line of inlaid exotic hardwood bands

(LONG BEACH, Calif.) - Thorsten Jewelry, a leading manufacturer of alternative metal wedding bands for men and women, is proud to launch new models of wedding bands inlaid with exotic hardwoods. Due to the popularity of using natural materials in rings, Thorsten reports exotic hardwood inlaid rings h...

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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.

 

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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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