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Georgia Jewelers Association announces scholarship winners

Georgia Jewelers Association announces scholarship winners

For the sixth year, Georgia Jewelers Association (...

GIA’s M2M app helps retailers tell a diamond’s story

GIA’s M2M app helps retailers tell a diamond’s story

As the creator of the 4Cs, GIA (Gemological Instit...

Ellis Jewelers Tim Hiatt credits retail success to his genes

Ellis Jewelers Tim Hiatt credits retail success to his genes

They say you can escape your past but not your gen...

Retailer Roundtable: What jewelry trends are you seeing leading up to Vegas?

Retailer Roundtable: What jewelry trends are you seeing leading up to Vegas?

Q: What jewelry trends are you seeing leading up to...

Masters of Marketing - A century of sparkling insight (Part 1)

Masters of Marketing - A century of sparkling insight (Part 1)

Schnack’s Fine Jewelry, Alexandria, LA     

There is ...

Other News

De Beers sends mining ship to explore Namibian coast

De Beers sends mining ship to explore Namibian coast

The $157 million vessel can accommodate a crew of 80 and has a helicopter deck suitable for Sikorsky S61s.

De Beers, the world's No.1 diamond miner by value, unveiled last Thursday the world's largest diamond exploration vessel, which will search for ...

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Industry Events

Charles Stanley and Yancy Weinrich honored at Jewelers for Children Facets of Hope

Charles Stanley and Yancy Weinrich honored at Jewelers for Children Facets of Hope

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers for Children (JFC) held the 19th edition of the Facets of Hope event on June 7, in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The charity announced that $2.2 million had been raised to support their charity partners in the ...

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On The Move

JA announces 2018 GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement recipient

JA announces 2018 GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement recipient

Sally Morrison of Gemfields to receive the prestigious award

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers of America (JA) and the GEM Awards Committee have announced that Sally Morrison, Director of Sales and Marketing, Americas, of Gemfields, will receive the GEM Award for ...

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What's New

Rembrandt Charms introduces Bridal Party Program

Rembrandt Charms introduces Bridal Party Program

(WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y.) - Rembrandt Charms Bridal Party Expansion Program creates an omni-channel experience for the bridal shopper, and cultivates new and repeat business for the retail jeweler. The Program is a low-cost investment of $170 and can gene...

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Featured Articles

With more growth in the works, LaserStar celebrates 60 years of an evolving, dynamic business

With more growth in the works, LaserStar celebrates 60 years of an evolving, dynamic business

LaserStar Technologies is celebrating 60 years in business the perfect way: The leading manufacturer of jewelry laser systems is doubling the size of its facility in Orlando, FL, putting its Southern operations on par with its flagship facility in Pr...

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Latest News

De Beers sends mining ship to explore Namibian coast

2 DAYS AGO
De Beers sends mining ship to explore Namibian coast

The $157 million vessel can accommodate a crew of 80 and has a helicopter deck suitable for Sikorsky S61s.

De Beers, the world's No.1 diamond miner by value, unveiled last Thursday the world's largest diamond exploration vessel, which will search for the coveted stones on the seabed off the coast of ...

Readmore

Are American malls dead?

2 DAYS AGO
Are American malls dead?

With All the Bankruptcies and Closings, How Will the Mall Survive?

My first retail job in 1983 was at a RadioShack store in a small Indiana town. We had no POS system or any other technology to help us outside of the calculator we used to add up the numbers on the invoices. Our best-selling item was ...

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Charles Stanley and Yancy Weinrich honored at Jewelers for Children Facets of Hope

2 DAYS AGO
Charles Stanley and Yancy Weinrich honored at Jewelers for Children Facets of Hope

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers for Children (JFC) held the 19th edition of the Facets of Hope event on June 7, in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The charity announced that $2.2 million had been raised to support their charity partners in the year ahead bringing the cumulative total since 199...

Readmore

Registration open for GIA’s New York Jewelry Career Fair

2 DAYS AGO
Registration open for GIA’s New York Jewelry Career Fair

Industry’s largest recruiting event returns to the Javits Center July 24

(NEW YORK) - Recruiters and aspiring job seekers can now register online for GIA’s Jewelry Career Fair to be held in New York on Monday, July 24. The leading gem and jewelry industry recruiting event will feature one-on-one caree...

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JA announces 2018 GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement recipient

9 DAYS AGO
JA announces 2018 GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement recipient

Sally Morrison of Gemfields to receive the prestigious award

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers of America (JA) and the GEM Awards Committee have announced that Sally Morrison, Director of Sales and Marketing, Americas, of Gemfields, will receive the GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 16th annual GEM Awards...

Readmore

Georgia Jewelers Association announces scholarship winners

24 DAYS AGO
Georgia Jewelers Association announces scholarship winners

For the sixth year, Georgia Jewelers Association (GJA) has awarded scholarships to member stores and their employees. Scholarship chair, Jan Fergerson of Ford, Gittings and Kane in Rome, Georgia, announced the winners at the annual GJA Convention held at the Marriott Grand National Resort in Opelika...

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Rembrandt Charms introduces Bridal Party Program

9 DAYS AGO
Rembrandt Charms introduces Bridal Party Program

(WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y.) - Rembrandt Charms Bridal Party Expansion Program creates an omni-channel experience for the bridal shopper, and cultivates new and repeat business for the retail jeweler. The Program is a low-cost investment of $170 and can generate over $1,500 in sales from one wedding party. ...

Readmore

Jayden Star celebrates 10-year anniversary with new product roll-out

22 DAYS AGO
Jayden Star celebrates 10-year anniversary with new product roll-out

(NEW YORK) - Celebrating with style, Jayden Star marks it’s 10-year anniversary with the biggest new product roll-out in company history during the JCK Las Vegas 2017 show. “With wholesale price points from $3 to $300, it’s hard to go wrong,” says Patrick Retzer, VP of Sales for Jayden Star. “All our...

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Furry Friends: Buffy the Shitzu

2 DAYS AGO
Furry Friends: Buffy the Shitzu

Buffy the shitzu recently celebrated her 10-year anniversary at Carl’s Fine Jewelry in Covington, LA. She’s quite stylish and the customers just love her.

Do you have a furry friend that helps out in your store? Tell us about it and send a picture to bill@southernjewelrynews.com.

 

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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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