01192018Fri
Last updateThu, 18 Jan 2018 10am
Gem Star Imports offers cutting-edge concepts & loyal service to retailers

Gem Star Imports offers cutting-edge concepts & loyal service to retailers

Gem Star Imports, a leading diamond jewelry manufa...

Travis Piper, the $1 Million Man

Travis Piper, the $1 Million Man

In 1997, Travis Piper went off to college with an ...

Floyd & Green Jewelers celebrating 25th anniversary

Floyd & Green Jewelers celebrating 25th anniversary

For Steve Floyd & Tom Williams, it seems like ...

Parker’s Karat Patch carves out big local niche

Parker’s Karat Patch carves out big local niche

It was an unlikely career for Kristin and Terrence...

Other News

IDEX Online reports diamond-based cryptocurrencies to be unveiled at IDWI

IDEX Online reports diamond-based cryptocurrencies to be unveiled at IDWI

(IDEX Online) – The Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) will unveil new diamond-based cryptocurrencies created by startup CARATS.IO during the February 5-7 International Diamond Week in Israel (IDWI).

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Industry Events

Select Show announces Dallas 2018 date

Select Show announces Dallas 2018 date

Date change moves Select Dallas to September

(NEW YORK) - On the heels of a successful 2017 Select Dallas Show, The Select Jewelry Show has announced a new date for 2018.

The 2018 Select Jewelry Show in Dallas will be held Sunday and Monday, September 1...

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On The Move

IGI North and South America achieves re-certification by RJC

IGI North and South America achieves re-certification by RJC

(NEW YORK) - The International Gemological Institute (IGI) continues to promote the importance of upholding credibility and high industry standards through its submissions to independent external auditors. The Institute has announced that IGI - North ...

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What's New

ASHI launches Valentine Sweepstakes

ASHI launches Valentine Sweepstakes

(NEW YORK) - ASHI has announced the launch its Valentine Sweepstakes, to kickoff the Valentine Season for its retail partners. Retailers will be able to attract shoppers to their stores through various Social Media platforms.  The Sweepstakes provides...

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Featured Articles

Retailer Roundtable: What do you do when a customer breaks an important piece in your store?

Retailer Roundtable: What do you do when a customer breaks an important piece in your store?

Q: What do you do when a customer breaks an important piece in your store?

“We don’t have a set policy for this type of incident. Pretty much in all cases we’ll cover the cost of repairing the item to avoid any ill will with the client. This is especia...

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Latest News

IDEX Online reports diamond-based cryptocurrencies to be unveiled at IDWI

1 DAY AGO
IDEX Online reports diamond-based cryptocurrencies to be unveiled at IDWI

(IDEX Online) – The Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) will unveil new diamond-based cryptocurrencies created by startup CARATS.IO during the February 5-7 International Diamond Week in Israel (IDWI).

Readmore

JA applauds Supreme Court decision to hear Sales Tax Fairness case

2 DAYS AGO
JA applauds Supreme Court decision to hear Sales Tax Fairness case

(NEW YOR K) - Jewelers of America (JA), a national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, applauds the decision by the United States Supreme Court to take up South Dakota’s petition to the Court to re-consider the Quill decision from 1992. That decision established the...

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Select Show announces Dallas 2018 date

9 DAYS AGO
Select Show announces Dallas 2018 date

Date change moves Select Dallas to September

(NEW YORK) - On the heels of a successful 2017 Select Dallas Show, The Select Jewelry Show has announced a new date for 2018.

The 2018 Select Jewelry Show in Dallas will be held Sunday and Monday, September 16th and 17th. The location remains the same, the D...

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JA New York Spring Show preview

16 DAYS AGO
JA New York Spring Show preview

Once again, the JA New York Spring show will co-locate with the MJSA Expo March 11-13, 2018 at the Jacob Javits Center, to create a true, destination Jewelry Market Week in New York City. With JA New York’s emphasis on fine finished jewelry and MJSA Expo’s unique focus on supplies to the trade, atte...

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IGI North and South America achieves re-certification by RJC

1 DAY AGO
IGI North and South America achieves re-certification by RJC

(NEW YORK) - The International Gemological Institute (IGI) continues to promote the importance of upholding credibility and high industry standards through its submissions to independent external auditors. The Institute has announced that IGI - North & South America has been granted re-certificat...

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GIA to open laboratory in Surat, India, expand facility in Antwerp, Belgium

9 DAYS AGO
GIA to open laboratory in Surat, India, expand facility in Antwerp, Belgium

(CARLSBAD, Calif.) - GIA will open a new laboratory in Surat, India and expand its long-term presence in Antwerp, Belgium in the second quarter of 2018 to meet the needs of the global gem and jewelry industry.

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ASHI launches Valentine Sweepstakes

1 DAY AGO
ASHI launches Valentine Sweepstakes

(NEW YORK) - ASHI has announced the launch its Valentine Sweepstakes, to kickoff the Valentine Season for its retail partners. Retailers will be able to attract shoppers to their stores through various Social Media platforms.  The Sweepstakes provides ASHI retailers with a unique marketing opportunit...

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MJSA launches Jewelers Do It Better™

1 DAY AGO
MJSA launches Jewelers Do It Better™

Consumer marketing campaign to drive jewelry sales

MJSA, the trade alliance dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design, has launched a new consumer marketing campaign, Jewelers Do It Better™, to generate enthusiasm for its members’ creations and drive retail sales. The campaign...

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Furry friends on the job: Chloe of Randall’s Jewelry in Oakland Park, Florida

1 DAY AGO
Furry friends on the job: Chloe of Randall’s Jewelry in Oakland Park, Florida

This adorable little pup is Chloe. Chloe has been on the job at Randall’s Jewelry in Oakland Park, Florida every day of her 8 years. The only exception is Saturdays when she likes to stay home and watch her favorite show, Animal Planet! “She is a very important part of our team in every way,” says h...

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Furry friends on the job: Dax Shepard - International Gemological Institute (IGI)

9 DAYS AGO
Furry friends on the job: Dax Shepard - International Gemological Institute (IGI)

This big ole dog is Dax Shepard (his legal name is Vom Eichen Antrieb). Dax, who turned 4 years-old earlier this week, is the furry friend of International Gemological Institute (IGI) President/Chief Executive Officer Jerry Ehrenwald. I’d say the 100 lb black German Shepard would be quite effective ...

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The Marketing Minute: Trend Spotting

3 MONTHS AGO

Marketing specialist George Prout produces a weekly marketing advice video for retail jewelers, The Monday Morning Marketing Minute. He’s generously agreed to let us share them with our eWeekly readers.

 

Click here  to see more of George Prout’s The Marketing Minute

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Marketing Minute: Pricing Strategy

3 MONTHS AGO

Marketing specialist George Prout produces a weekly marketing advice video for retail jewelers, The Monday Morning Marketing Minute. He’s generously agreed to let us share them with our eWeekly readers.

 

Click here  to see more of George Prout’s The Marketing Minute

 

 

 

 

 

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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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