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Last updateTue, 02 Feb 2016 8pm
The Story Behind the Stone: Diamond & gemstones cut to push light performances

The Story Behind the Stone: Diamond & gemstones cut to push light performances

Transparent gemstones and diamonds are magnets of ...

Darling Imports helps you keep up with the trends

Darling Imports helps you keep up with the trends

Every year consumers concern themselves with fashi...

Jewelers for Children announces 2016 Rings of Strength Tour

Jewelers for Children announces 2016 Rings of Strength Tour

Bike, run or walk to help children in need

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Could more acidic oceans mean less pearls?

Could more acidic oceans mean less pearls?

Increasingly acidic sea conditions have been shown to weaken the shells of pearl oysters—but it appears these mollusks are pretty resilient creatures.

AsianScientist (Jan. 29, 2016) - Pearls have adorned the necklines of women throughout history, but ...

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Industry Events

Midwest Jewelers Conference & Show - A new show with a history

Midwest Jewelers Conference & Show - A new show with a history

 

The 2016 Midwest Jewelers Conference & Show (MJC) is the “new” Jewelers Educational Conference, a regional jewelry conference and show that has been held biannually in suburban Kansas City, Missouri for 16 years. The name change, along with a mo...

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On The Move

Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology awards outstanding students

Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology awards outstanding students

An awards ceremony was held for students attending the Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology (TIJT) at Paris Junior College at the end of the fall semester.

Winners of a student design contest were: Jonathan Martin in CAD/CAM, Tony Henderson in Wax Ca...

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What's New

Jewelry Website Designers rolls out exciting new website

Jewelry Website Designers rolls out exciting new website

Jewelry Website Designers (JWD), a leading designer of websites for the jewelry industry, has announced the launch of a completely new website ( www.jewelrywebsitedesigners.com ) for 2016 that includes more intuitive navigation, and a line up of valuab...

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Featured Articles

Esperanza Diamond Tour starts in Arkansas

Esperanza Diamond Tour starts in Arkansas

Hailed as most valuable diamond ever found in U.S.

There are events that happen with such incredible timing and good fortune it almost seems like divine intervention is at work. Such is the case with the 8.52-carat Esperanza Diamond rough. From its se...

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Latest News

Could more acidic oceans mean less pearls?

6 DAYS AGO
Could more acidic oceans mean less pearls?

Increasingly acidic sea conditions have been shown to weaken the shells of pearl oysters—but it appears these mollusks are pretty resilient creatures.

AsianScientist (Jan. 29, 2016) - Pearls have adorned the necklines of women throughout history, but some evidence suggests that the gems’ future could...

Readmore

World's top 10 rookie gold mines

6 DAYS AGO
World's top 10 rookie gold mines

These high-grade mines will soon start competing with gold mining's industry leaders

The gold market is not a traditional mineral commodity market where one is able, under certain assumptions and limitations, to analyze supply/demand relationships and to make reasonable forecasts regarding future pri...

Readmore

Jewelers for Children announces 2016 Rings of Strength Tour

8 DAYS AGO
Jewelers for Children announces 2016 Rings of Strength Tour

Bike, run or walk to help children in need

Jewelers for Children (JFC) will hold the fourth installment of the very popular Rings of Strength on Thursday, June 2 in Las Vegas. Start time will be at 5:30 a.m. outside the tour bus entrance at the Mandalay Bay Resort Casino. Participants will be able to...

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Midwest Jewelers Conference & Show - A new show with a history

8 DAYS AGO
Midwest Jewelers Conference & Show - A new show with a history

 

The 2016 Midwest Jewelers Conference & Show (MJC) is the “new” Jewelers Educational Conference, a regional jewelry conference and show that has been held biannually in suburban Kansas City, Missouri for 16 years. The name change, along with a move to Kansas City’s downtown Power & Light Ent...

Readmore

Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology awards outstanding students

8 DAYS AGO
Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology awards outstanding students

An awards ceremony was held for students attending the Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology (TIJT) at Paris Junior College at the end of the fall semester.

Winners of a student design contest were: Jonathan Martin in CAD/CAM, Tony Henderson in Wax Carving and Andrew Ferguson in Fabrication and Desig...

Readmore

Industry veteran Michael Haider joins Taché USA as VP of Sales

13 DAYS AGO
Industry veteran Michael Haider joins Taché USA as VP of Sales

(NEW YORK) – Taché USA, a leading manufacturer of fine diamond jewelry, from bridal to fashion, is pleased to announce that industry veteran Michael Haider has joined the company as Vice President of Sales.

Michael will have the responsibility of working with existing customers as well as developing n...

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Jewelry Website Designers rolls out exciting new website

8 DAYS AGO
Jewelry Website Designers rolls out exciting new website

Jewelry Website Designers (JWD), a leading designer of websites for the jewelry industry, has announced the launch of a completely new website ( www.jewelrywebsitedesigners.com ) for 2016 that includes more intuitive navigation, and a line up of valuable add-on services enabling independent jewelers t...

Readmore

JVC releases “Getting It Right - JVC’s Guide to Quality Programs for Jewelers”

19 DAYS AGO
JVC releases “Getting It Right - JVC’s Guide to Quality Programs for Jewelers”

(NEW YORK) - JVC has announced the publication of its latest guide - “Getting It Right – JVC’s Guide to Quality Programs for Jewelers” - published with a generous grant from International Gemological Institute (IGI).

The latest publication from the JVC provides simple and useable tools for all jeweler...

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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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