(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) – The Alabama Retail Association (ARA), in cooperation with the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Business, recently recognized 18 outstanding Alabama retailers representing 13 retail businesses with operations in 29 Alabama cities and 16 states as “Retailers of the Year.”
Jay Klos, president and owner of Grogan Jewelers (groganjewelers.com), which has stores in Huntsville and Florence, earned the Gold Retailer of the Year Award in the Annual Sales $1 Million to $5 Million category. Grogan Jewelers has been in business for 97 years and employs 19.
“Grogan Jewelers literally thought outside the box by removing glass enclosures and allowing customers direct access to the jewelry product,” the Retailer of the Year judges said. “Combine that with merchandising jewelry by a visible price point, and they created a more customer-friendly shopping environment. The results were sales growth, and the Retailer of the Year Gold Award.”
In his entry, Klos said removing the glass from several bridal showcases increased interest. Clients can try on as many designer sample rings as they like. “They are able to shop without the intimidation and high pressure usually associated with a typical jewelry store,” he said. Prices also are visible to customers on all items and displayed in ascending order. Klos credits these selling strategies plus cutting overall expenses by 15 percent with a seven percent increase in profitability.
The business has also put its ability to think innovatively into developing a nationally marketed, web based customer relationship management program, Diamond Relations (www.diamondrelationscrm.com), specifically designed for the jewelry industry. The program, which is accessible through any electronic device (iPad, iPhone, laptop, etc.) “has given our upper management great insight into the follow-up that our salespeople are making to close more sales. It’s a managers dream and a salespersons right hand,” Klos said. The jeweler also utilizes a software program that helps monitor profitability, manage and negotiate vendor contracts, manage inventory and track productivity of employees.
The two Grogan stores have distinct personalities. The Huntsville store is one of the top three retailers of the Pandora jewelry line in the state of Alabama, “even beating stores that carry a more extensive inventory in Pandora than we do,” Klos said.
The Florence store has outgrown its downtown site, where it has been for 94 years, and is moving about five miles away. When it opens in March or April, the new store will include a plaza, engagement ring center and lounge area complete with a fireplace and bar.