05022016Mon
Last updateSat, 30 Apr 2016 1pm
Russell Mefford - Jeweler by day, Southern Rocker by night

Russell Mefford - Jeweler by day, Southern Rocker by night

If you’re a Southern rock fan you know the differe...

ELLE Time & Jewelry to exhibit in prestigious Plumb Club at JCK

ELLE Time & Jewelry to exhibit in prestigious Plumb Club at JCK

(DALLAS) - PAJ (Prime Art & Jewel), who holds t...

JA New York Spring Show reports increased attendance

JA New York Spring Show reports increased attendance

Co-Location with MJSA and Lueur, new dates contrib...

Retailer Roundtable: What was your best store promotion?

Retailer Roundtable: What was your best store promotion?

Q: What was your best store promotion?

“For a numbe...

  • Newsletter

  • Latest Post

  • Most Read

Other News

Morganite: The modern face of jewelry

Morganite: The modern face of jewelry

Trends come and go as quickly as the seasons. Much like American culture, tastes in music, fashion and color are constantly evolving. And when they evolve, it pays to be on the current trend.

In the case of the jewelry industry, we are right in the mi...

Readmore

Loading...

Industry Events

Historic 8.52-carat “Esperanza Diamond” featured at The Smart Jewelry Show

Historic 8.52-carat “Esperanza Diamond” featured at The Smart Jewelry Show

Displayed with R. Harder Gallery Collection from Jewelers Mutual

(NEENAH, Wisc.) - The Smart Jewelry Show, April 17-19 in Chicago, will be hosting the historic Esperanza Diamond. The one-of-a-kind diamond will be on display with other pieces which are ...

Readmore

Loading...

On The Move

Cecilia Gardner’s role at JVC to change in 2017

(NEW YORK) - The Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) has announced that Cecilia Gardner, CEO/President and General Counsel, has decided to step down from her role as CEO/President at the beginning of 2017, after the planned celebration of JVC’s 100th y...

Readmore

Loading...

What's New

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...

Readmore

Loading...

Featured Articles

Industry writer goes from writing retail to working it

Industry writer goes from writing retail to working it

Paul Holewa, a freelance writer for Southern and Mid-America Jewelry News , has worked as a trade journalist since 1995. For most of that time, he has learned about best retailer practices by networking with and interviewing top jewelry store owners and...

Readmore

Loading...

Latest News

Morganite: The modern face of jewelry

1 DAY AGO
Morganite: The modern face of jewelry

Trends come and go as quickly as the seasons. Much like American culture, tastes in music, fashion and color are constantly evolving. And when they evolve, it pays to be on the current trend.

In the case of the jewelry industry, we are right in the middle of a morganite sensation. A stone mostly disr...

Readmore

One fifth of the world's gold is buried in London - and here's where it's hidden

4 DAYS AGO
One fifth of the world's gold is buried in London - and here's where it's hidden

SECRET vaults in London house one fifth of all the gold on the planet, with a staggering £172 billion worth of bullion tucked away under the capital’s streets.

Vaults under the Bank of England on Threadneedle Street are said to hold 5,134 tonnes of gold, making up the majority of the 6,256 tonne tota...

Readmore

JA New York Spring Show reports increased attendance

1 DAY AGO
JA New York Spring Show reports increased attendance

Co-Location with MJSA and Lueur, new dates contributing factors to success

(NEW YORK) - After an “extremely strong” opening day on Sunday, the JA New York Spring show proudly reported high-attendance momentum throughout the three day show. The co-location with MJSA and Lueur, a successful hosted buyer...

Readmore

Historic 8.52-carat “Esperanza Diamond” featured at The Smart Jewelry Show

19 DAYS AGO
Historic 8.52-carat “Esperanza Diamond” featured at The Smart Jewelry Show

Displayed with R. Harder Gallery Collection from Jewelers Mutual

(NEENAH, Wisc.) - The Smart Jewelry Show, April 17-19 in Chicago, will be hosting the historic Esperanza Diamond. The one-of-a-kind diamond will be on display with other pieces which are part of R. Harder Gallery of Gems and Minerals fro...

Readmore

Cecilia Gardner’s role at JVC to change in 2017

1 DAY AGO

(NEW YORK) - The Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) has announced that Cecilia Gardner, CEO/President and General Counsel, has decided to step down from her role as CEO/President at the beginning of 2017, after the planned celebration of JVC’s 100th year.

Readmore

ELLE Time & Jewelry to exhibit in prestigious Plumb Club at JCK

1 DAY AGO
ELLE Time & Jewelry to exhibit in prestigious Plumb Club at JCK

(DALLAS) - PAJ (Prime Art & Jewel), who holds the exclusive license for ELLE Time & Jewelry in agreement with ELLE Magazine , is pleased to announce that they will be exhibiting in the Plumb Club at JCK Las Vegas in June, 2016.

ELLE is a powerhouse brand most noted for its personal beauty mark, ...

Readmore

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

1 DAY AGO

(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...

Readmore

TW Steel’s new Maverick Collection adds attitude to the sport heritage world

1 DAY AGO
TW Steel’s new Maverick Collection adds attitude to the sport heritage world

TW Steel is shaking up Father Time in 2016, launching the adventurous Maverick Collection. Inspired by the ground-breaking Son of Time masterpiece, the Maverick Collection takes TW Steel’s bold attitude, blends in cool vintage styling and twists it all together to deliver a totally fresh take on tim...

Readmore

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..


Columnist



Media Kit