Hey, what the heck was that? I got up this morning and got a cup of coffee, walked out to my deck, and had to walk back in and put on a sweatshirt. Somehow or the other, summer ended... just like that! One minute Facebook is all ablaze with people taking pictures of their car’s temperature gauges showing triple digits, and the next minute it’s all about football in the fall. Yeah, I know it happens every year, but it just seems to happen a lot faster these days.
It usually seems that it’s been over a year since my last ‘every September’ column. But I swear it feels like just a few months since I wrote my last one. Huh. I guess it is true that time flies when you’re having fun.
During the Great American Recession, no one was having much fun. Gold went through the roof, sales went through the toilet, and most people’s lives were put on hold. This summer, I’ve done things that I just couldn’t do the last 3 or 4 summers out of fear of spending money I might need to put food on the table. And I wasn’t alone.
As a columnist for the last ten years, I call mom and pop retailers all over the country and ask them to tell me the truth about what’s going on in their neck of the woods. Yes, a few said: “What recession? I’m having a record breaking year.” But most said: “If this keeps up for much longer I’m going to have to file for bankruptcy.” Hell, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think that very same thing for almost a year.
I guess time has been flying these last 12 months because I have been busy. I had to work lots of Sundays just playing catch up to make my week easier. That’s something I haven’t done in a while. This summer I also took two vacations. That’s definitely something I haven’t done in a while. I guess, all in all, it’s been a good year after all. But, look at the calendar. It’s September and you know what that means. It’s time to get back to work.
September is the time of year when everyone in the jewelry industry comes to the realization that the Christmas selling season is less than 90 days away. And 90 days may as well be tomorrow if you’re not already in the process of gearing up for it.
I talked with Sally Walker from Argentum Jewelry in Bloomington, Indiana, just as she got back from the JA New York Show. She told me that in her store, the last several 4th quarters were all better than the year before and she expects that trend to continue. She said she’s finally seeing the self-shoppers come in again. She’s also seeing the groups of women that are just ‘out shopping’ coming in making purchases just for fun. And as a retail jewelry store owner, that makes it fun for her too.
Now that we’re heading into our 5th Christmas season since the recession started, we’ve finally got a baseline to work from. Me personally... I’m feeling pretty good about it all. Sally Walker? She’s feeling pretty good about it all too. I’m just glad most of the doom and gloom of the last several years is starting to be just a bad memory and all of us mom and pop stores can start to grow and prosper again instead of hunkering down just trying to survive.
So, that being said, do you have enough ring boxes in stock to handle the season? No? Well pick up the phone and order them this week.
Do you have enough of the counter top point of sale items to handle the increased number of customers that will be coming through your doors this season? If not, now’s a good time to take care of that. And, that being said.... I’ve got to go. I just realized how far behind I am and I’ve got calls to make.
Happy 4th quarter to everyone.
Chuck is the owner of Anthony Jewelers in Nashville, TN. Chuck also owns CMK Co., a wholesale trade shop that specializes in custom jewelry and repair services to the jewelry industry nationwide.