Jewelers from both states attended the convention, enjoyed getting to know one another and participated in educational seminars and roundtable discussions. Sales representatives and vendors joined the group for a first ever Vendor Café. Held Sunday morning, the Café was designed to thank traveling salespersons and their companies for supporting the retailers through attendance, sponsorships, ads and door prizes. Reps were invited to bring along brochures, catalogs and handouts during the meet and greet.
"Without the support of our suppliers and the folks that represent them, our Conventions would not be possible," said Don Lowe, Lowe Jewelry, Demopolis, Alabama and president of the AJA. "This is one way of supporting them and letting them know how much we want their participation at our events and as associate members of our group."
Retailers and sales reps enjoy socializing at the AJA/GJA Convention cocktail reception at Callaway Gardens.
(L-R) Anish Desai, Star Gems, Atlanta; John Poole, Hudson Poole Jewelers, Tuscaloosa, AL;
Steve Singer, Shah Diamonds, NY, Jim Spierings, Jewelers Mutual.
Both states held jewelry design contests during the Convention and for the first time Alabama Jewelers joined with Bishop State College in Mobile, Alabama to host a student design competition. Stephen Lange from Bishop State was on hand to represent the school as well as serve as one of the judges for the two state's design competitions. Doug Johnson of Gemvision was on hand to photograph all of the jewelry entered in the design competitions with Gemvision's Design Studio and the System 6 camera, available through Stuller.
Speakers included Andy McCaulay of Chippenhook who demonstrated ways to create a new store image and Louis Scholz of Fine Jewelry By Louis/Brixton & Gill who discussed estate jewelry buying and selling.
Said Eddie Knox, Knox Jewelers, Atlanta, Georgia and president of GJA: "Everyone from Georgia had positive comments about our roundtable discussions on Saturday morning. Alabama, I understand, routinely utilizes roundtables to get new ideas. Georgia members loved participating and I think it brought people who had not yet met together sooner than if we had not had this networking time."
The members of both states enjoyed a cocktail reception Saturday evening followed by a dinner with a program that included golf prizes to the winners of a combined states golf tournament on the Callaway Gardens Lake Course and Alabama Jeweler's Associate of the Year award. This year's recipient was Brent Johnson of Richard's, Inc. Each year Alabama Jewelers honors one of their associate members for their contribution to the state organization. The group also enjoyed dancing after dinner and lots of door prizes.
The Alabama and Georgia Jewelers Association's Saturday night banquet.
Member donations totaled $529 in canister collections on behalf of Jewelers for Children during the cocktail reception. Later that evening Namano & Southeastern Findings sponsored a poker tournament to benefit JFC.
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