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Letters to Chuck

Thanks for the good news!

You're hired! The news has to find a negative spin to play up, apparently good news doesn't sell (take the 24/7 coverage of the latest hurricane non-event here in Miami). I'm glad to see someone covering the fact the there a portions of the economy that aren't affected by the price of gas. Our business is up 40% YTD (in sales and profits). Shout it from the rooftops - give the people confidence and this "recession" will end!
            Sandy Hequin
            Morays Jewelers
            Miami, FL


Business not good for all

Good morning Chuck,

Just finished reading your column and I had to write to give you the counterpoint to your statement that "business is good".

Maybe you can say that our depression (yes, I meant what I wrote, not the R word) is very localized, and I am sure that it is, but still very real to us. My store is in Durand, MI, very small with about 4,000 population, and located about 15 miles from Flint, MI and 30 from Lansing, MI. We are a bedroom community for GM workers, maybe half retired and the other half still working (sort of).

Our store is small, and our best year ever was 2000 with approximately 1/3M in sales. We have lost gross sales every year since, and I expect to maybe hit 50% of that total this year if I am lucky. August sales were down 65% from August of last year, and those totals were low. If we were not buying gold I would have had to close by now.

We have been in business for 29 years, and everything I own is tied up in this store. Do I see an end? Probably not anytime soon. GM is replacing their $28 per hour workers with $14 per hour people with limited benefits, so our middle class is beginning to disappear. Diamond sales are almost non-existent, and the only product we move are replacement mountings as they wear out.

Local unemployment rates are over 10%, every fourth house is being repossessed, and businesses are closing at an alarming rate. The good news? Still waiting for some.

            Have a good day,
            Jon Michael Fuja
            Durand, MI


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