Ask Andie Weinman, co-founder of the Continental Buying Group (CBG), to sum up the advantages of becoming a Preferred Jeweler, and her answer is straight and to the point, “It really makes you stand out from your competition.”
Weinman and her husband Joe Murphy, are the highly respected duo that run the Continental Buying Group, an organization comprised of 100 members representing 275 retail doors, with a combined annual sales volume of over 1 billion dollars. The 150 vendors who complete the group become members on an invitation-only basis, and the invitations aren’t easy to come by.
Presiding over approximately 250 retail and vendor members isn’t always easy, but the fashionable and forward thinking pair take it all in stride. Their continuous search for new ideas, products and services to benefit their members is how the idea for Preferred Jewelers was born.
Created in 2009 as an off-shoot of CBG, the group known as “Preferred Jewelers” took some time to decide how to differentiate itself from CBG proper. It made it’s official debut on February 1, 2013, with its first Member Retailer Conference. Showcasing a new website, a refocused mission and speakers including Amy Bonetti Price, founder of Big Mouth Communications, and Daniel Paul, EVP of Client Strategy at Intermundo Media, Preferred Jewelers hit its stride. Conference attendees were excited about the goals, strategies and tools that were shared with them, each designed to leverage the power of membership, and give independent retailers unique advantages in the competitive marketplace.
The dedication and strong commitment on the part of Weinman and Murphy to the organization, along with numerous benefits, no requirement on a minimum sales volume, and territory exclusivity make the opportunity to become a “Preferred Jeweler,” extremely attractive.
Interest in the association has run high. As of late February, the organization had approximately 80 retailers representing a total of 150 doors, including Smyth Jewelers of Maryland, Griffins Jewelers of Alabama and Bond Jewelers of Florida. Their goal is to have 100 retail members on board by this year’s Las Vegas shows and then increase that number to roughly 200 to 300 members by next year’s shows. Weinman’s ultimate goal for the organization is to have 300 to 400 members, representing a total of 600 to 700 retail doors nationwide.
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