04282015Tue
Last updateWed, 01 Apr 2015 12am
NCJA and SCJA to “horse around” at 2015

NCJA and SCJA to “horse around” at 2015

North Carolina and South Carolina jewelers will re...

Four generations and 115 years of Waller & Company Jewelers

Four generations and 115 years of Waller & Company Jewelers

One of the oldest African American retailers in th...

Cause for celebration - Atlanta Jewelry Show 65th anniversary edition

Cause for celebration - Atlanta Jewelry Show 65th anniversary edition

(ATLANTA) - Buoyed by strong Christmas and Valentin...

Obaku introduces new styles for Spring/Summer 2015

Obaku introduces new styles for Spring/Summer 2015

Obaku, makers of an exclusive collection of watche...

Rembrandt Charms® debuts new charm just in time for Mother’s Day

Rembrandt Charms® debuts new charm just in time for Mother’s Day

(WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y.) - Rembrandt Charms debuts its...

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Jewelers for Children announces 2015 Rings of Strength Tour

Jewelers for Children announces 2015 Rings of Strength Tour

The 2015 edition of the Jewelers for Children Rings of Strength Tour will be held for Thursday, May 28, 2015 in Las Vegas. This will be the third inst...

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Southern Gates® debuts new Spring Collection

Southern Gates® debuts new Spring Collection

(CHARLESTON, S.C.) - The Southern Gates® 2015 Spring Collection is now available from The Cargo Hold, Inc. The 2015 Spring Collection includes more tha...

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Featured Articles

From flea markets to estate jewelry market leader

From flea markets to estate jewelry market leader

With Millennials marrying in record numbers, “something old” includes more than a handed down wedding dress. Ernest Perry, owner of Perry’s Fine Antiq...

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Latest News

Hoover & Strong reports Fairmined Gold gaining new ground in the U.S.

27 DAYS AGO
Hoover & Strong reports Fairmined Gold gaining new ground in the U.S.

In the Peruvian desert, lies a small gold mining town by the name of Relave. Families here have depended on small-scale mining since the 1980s when economic hardship and conflict drove numerous families to settle as informal miners. Starting out without basic infrastructure, they worked the tailings...

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JA offering Members Scholarships

27 DAYS AGO

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, funds scholarships for members on renowned industry diploma, professional development and certification programs. JA awards scholarships during the enrollment period from Februar...

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NCJA and SCJA to “horse around” at 2015

27 DAYS AGO
NCJA and SCJA to “horse around” at 2015

North Carolina and South Carolina jewelers will return to “horse around” together May 15-17 at the Marriott Grande Dunes in Myrtle Beach, SC.  The same dates as Triple Crown horse race Preakness Weekend!  The North Carolina Jewelers Association and the South Carolina Jewelers Association are togethe...

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Jewelers for Children announces 2015 Rings of Strength Tour

27 DAYS AGO
Jewelers for Children announces 2015 Rings of Strength Tour

The 2015 edition of the Jewelers for Children Rings of Strength Tour will be held for Thursday, May 28, 2015 in Las Vegas. This will be the third installment of the popular event. Start time will be at 5:30 a.m. outside the tour bus entrance at the Mandalay Bay Resort Casino.  Participants will be a...

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Chris Glaser forms CAD/CAM consultancy

27 DAYS AGO
Chris Glaser forms CAD/CAM consultancy

Chris Glaser is proud to announce the formation of his new company, Glaser Cad Cam Advisers, LLC. The new company began operation in February serving both retail and manufacturing jewelers’ CAD/CAM needs, providing revolutionary design software, EnvisionTec 3D Printing solutions and state-of-the-art...

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Jewel-Craft, Inc. announces acquisition of LogoArt®

27 DAYS AGO
Jewel-Craft, Inc. announces acquisition of LogoArt®

(ERLANGER, Ky.) - Jewel-Craft, Inc. announced it has officially acquired the thriving licensed jewelry manufacturer, LogoArt®, returning the brand to its original birthplace. The family-owned and operated full-service jewelry repair and manufacturing trade shop enters the licensed jewelry market with...

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Southern Gates® debuts new Spring Collection

27 DAYS AGO
Southern Gates® debuts new Spring Collection

(CHARLESTON, S.C.) - The Southern Gates® 2015 Spring Collection is now available from The Cargo Hold, Inc. The 2015 Spring Collection includes more than twenty new sterling silver items inspired by the historic wrought iron gates found throughout legendary gardens and courtyards.

The new Spring Collec...

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Obaku introduces new styles for Spring/Summer 2015

27 DAYS AGO
Obaku introduces new styles for Spring/Summer 2015

Obaku, makers of an exclusive collection of watches with a focus on simple, serene design, is pleased to introduce new styles for Spring/Summer 2015. Included are new styles in men’s watches with Super Luminous indexes and fully open designed dials in various sunray colors, including navy blue, gunm...

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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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