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Leading the state in estate jewelry

Leading the state in estate jewelry

Levy’s capitalizing on estate jewelry popularity

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Police searching for man who stole $1.6 million bucket of gold

Police searching for man who stole $1.6 million bucket of gold

The New York City police are looking for a quick-thinking thief who stole an 86-pound bucket of gold flakes worth nearly $1.6 million off an armored truck in Manhattan.

The unidentified thief swiped the 5-gallon metal bucket off the back of the vehicl...

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Industry Events

JFC to honor Charles Stanley and Yancy Weinrich at Facets of Hope event

JFC to honor Charles Stanley and Yancy Weinrich at Facets of Hope event

Jewelers for Children (JFC) will hold their annual Facets of Hope on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at the Mandalay Bay Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, NV.  The day change is a result of the adjusted JCK Show schedule. Charles Stanley of Forevermark and Y...

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On The Move

Jewelers Mutual earns 30th consecutive A+ Superior rating from A.M. Best Company

(NEENAH, Wis.) - Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company has earned its 30th consecutive A+ Superior financial strength rating from A.M. Best Company, one of the world’s most respected insurance rating and information sources.

Founded in 1913, Jewelers Mutua...

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What's New

LaserStar Technologies introduces eStore for spare parts ordering

LaserStar Technologies is proud to announce the release of their newly redesigned online store. LaserStar’s eStore has been redesigned to make your user experience faster, easier and more efficient. Now you will be able to access the eStore and Owner...

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Featured Articles

Female wounded warrior finds passion, career and calling in jewelry

Female wounded warrior finds passion, career and calling in jewelry

There are many paths to finding the right career. Most are predictable, but sometimes the path becomes clear only through adversity. Richard Branson, whose net worth of $4.9 billion makes him nearly 10 times wealthier than Queen Elizabeth II, dropped...

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Latest News

Police searching for man who stole $1.6 million bucket of gold

4 DAYS AGO
Police searching for man who stole $1.6 million bucket of gold

The New York City police are looking for a quick-thinking thief who stole an 86-pound bucket of gold flakes worth nearly $1.6 million off an armored truck in Manhattan.

The unidentified thief swiped the 5-gallon metal bucket off the back of the vehicle on September 29 when a guard briefly went to the...

Readmore

National Jeweler publishes “State of the Majors”

4 DAYS AGO

Report returns for the first time since 2012

(NEW YORK) - National Jeweler has released the “State of the Majors,” a report which analyzes the performance of the country’s largest jewelers and the state of jewelry retailing today. The release of this once-annual report marks the first time National Je...

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JFC to honor Charles Stanley and Yancy Weinrich at Facets of Hope event

4 DAYS AGO
JFC to honor Charles Stanley and Yancy Weinrich at Facets of Hope event

Jewelers for Children (JFC) will hold their annual Facets of Hope on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at the Mandalay Bay Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, NV.  The day change is a result of the adjusted JCK Show schedule. Charles Stanley of Forevermark and Yancy Weinrich of JCK Events, Luxury and JIS, have ...

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Stuller, Inc. announces 2017 Annual Bench Jeweler Workshop

25 DAYS AGO
Stuller, Inc. announces 2017 Annual Bench Jeweler Workshop

Battle of the Benches competition returns

(LAFAYETTE, La.) - Stuller’s annual Bench Jeweler Workshop featuring the 2nd annual Battle of the Benches competition will return to their global headquarters in Lafayette, Louisiana on March 24th - March 26th, 2017.

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Jewelers Mutual earns 30th consecutive A+ Superior rating from A.M. Best Company

4 DAYS AGO

(NEENAH, Wis.) - Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company has earned its 30th consecutive A+ Superior financial strength rating from A.M. Best Company, one of the world’s most respected insurance rating and information sources.

Founded in 1913, Jewelers Mutual is the only insurer dedicated solely to serving ...

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Greg Gesswein promoted to President of Paul H. Gesswein and Co.

4 DAYS AGO
Greg Gesswein promoted to President of Paul H. Gesswein and Co.

Greg Gesswein has been promoted to president of Paul H. Gesswein and Co., Inc., a 102 year old Bridgeport based manufacturer and distributor of tools, equipment and supplies. Greg is the fourth generation of the Gesswein family to manage the business and replaces his father, Dwight W. Gesswein, who ...

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LaserStar Technologies introduces eStore for spare parts ordering

12 DAYS AGO

LaserStar Technologies is proud to announce the release of their newly redesigned online store. LaserStar’s eStore has been redesigned to make your user experience faster, easier and more efficient. Now you will be able to access the eStore and Owner’s Section with just one login. Ordering spare par...

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Thorsten Jewelry ventures into precious metals with a 14k line

19 DAYS AGO
Thorsten Jewelry ventures into precious metals with a 14k line

(LONG BEACH, Calif.) - Thorsten Jewelry is primarily known for using alternative metals such as tungsten carbide and cobalt chrome to create wedding bands for both men and women. However, they have recently ventured into the world of precious metals as well.

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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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