When Saleem Black decided to retire and close the doors on his silver jewelry manufacturing company in February, little did he know that long-time customer Chris Snowden, owner of Snowden’s Jewelry in Wilmington, NC, would end up buying his company. The two men had become friends through their business dealings and as soon as Chris received Black’s letter about the impending closure he picked up the phone and dialed Black.
“I called Saleem to restock all my Sun River pieces that sold well, and he expressed his concern for the people in his Mexican factory,” recalls Chris. “Some of his employees had worked for him for 25 years and he didn’t want them to be without a job. That really touched me.”
Chris realized he wanted continued access to the Sun River pieces and he wanted to keep the Sun River people working. A discussion of buying the business was the next logical step. Three or four conversations later and on March 1, 2011 Chris Snowden became the new owner of Sun River Jewelers.
|When Chris Snowden learned Sun River was closing, he worried he would lose access to some of his fast-moving product - so he bought the company.|
Included in the purchase were all of the Sun River molds, the engraving equipment and the factory in Mexico. Chris, who is a long-time bench jeweler, grew up in his father’s store playing on the bench from an early age. He recalls how his father would let him play, but wouldn’t let him touch the torch until he was in his teens. Today, his extensive knowledge and experience of crafting jewelry will lead the way to improve the jewelry manufacturing process at his new plant.
“We’ve already identified a few areas we’re going to improve,” states Chris. “We’ll start by showing them the proper way to Rhodium plate jewelry, and we’ll work on the finish of our silver by using magnetic tumblers so the finish is crisper.”
That’s not all that’s changed. Chris and his wife Dayna changed the name to Sun River Creations. They also decided that Dayna will head up the new company enabling Chris to continue to focus on the retail store. When they dove into the policy side of the company they decided to add a lifetime warranty, co-op advertising funds, exclusive territory rights and a complete stock balance on all products. All of these additions are traits that Chris looks for in his own vendors.
Within 20 days of buying the company Chris and Dayna had produced their first run of product; around 65 styles. They attended their first show in Atlanta this summer and within the next few months hope to be up to 150 styles in their inventory. Soon they will finalize an agreement to produce an exclusive line of nautical jewelry.
Chris and Dayna encourage you to peruse their new website at www.sunrivercreations.com. It is equipped with e-commerce capability just for retailers but allows anyone to view product without pricing. You may reach them by phone at 910-960-7589.
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