Feature Friday – Anita Price
In the summer of 1989, I was 15 and babysitting the neighborhood kids. I learned that the local jewelry store, Price’s Jewelers, was hiring a high school student. So I dropped in to grab an application, but little did I know, I interviewed on the spot. I received the job instantly, clad in beach attire and kids’ bags. I had broken every rule learned about first impressions, proper dress, arriving with a resume, etc. Nonetheless, I began my work at the end of the summer and throughout my high school and college years. But this is where the story gets a little more interesting. In my sophomore year of college, Roger, the cute family goldsmith, asked me to meet him after men’s volleyball league.
After striking up a friendship, I went from a part-time employee to dating the boss’s son, to our engagement and entering into the family business. Whew! Roger and I married after my graduation from Concordia College. I juggled long term grade school subbing, working in the jewelry store and starting a family. Three years of this proved too much. I decided to work full time in the business with my husband. Now 28 years later, I know I made the right decision to be within Price’s Fine Jewelry family business! I love that I’m in a business where our work retains lasting emotional and generational ties.
Roger and I are the third husband-wife team to run our family jewelry business, which will enter its 75th year of business in 2018! It has been such a blessing to see the business transform from a humble watch repair shop. Back in the early 1940s, Roger’s grandparents started buying engagement rings and slowly multiplying the inventory with each sale. Then, his parents made huge leaps by becoming members of the AGS and creating a full-service retail jewelry store. These days, Roger and I have brought in the next generation of laser welders, computer engraving systems, computer POS system, custom design work and a future-facing strategy for business growth.
With that said, new technology has its downfalls, too! Most days we absolutely love it, but sometimes we miss handwritten receipts when the computers take on a mind of their own. Truthfully, we embrace technology. We are fortunate to have two laser welders for our repair department. These have made the last 15 years much more efficient and allowed us to create intricate designs and on-site repairs. We also have a Signature engraving system that has increased our customization capabilities. I love the ease of using the computer versus the old double tracing engraving machines here when I started.
We also brought in The Edge for Jewelers, a time-saving Point of Sale business system. It affected everything: from inventory entry, reorders, appraisals, repairs, report monitoring and employee sales tracking. The Edge proved one of the best large technology changes with frequent updates that continue to save our business!
Our store’s niche and focus gears toward Ideal cut diamonds. Roger’s father always pushed the importance of cutting and light return, allowing diamonds ultimate sparkle and life. We have also welcomed Shane Decker, an industry sales maven, into our store on four occasions to ignite, excite and educate us further on showing diamonds to customers. We concentrate on carrying diamonds that set us apart, whether in our engagement rings, diamond earrings or fashion pieces. Our diamonds represent quality and lasting beauty. By educating our customers, this has been our strongest sales area for years.
In addition to the beautiful jewelry we carry, our store’s design also expresses our uniqueness. We have gallery displays and kiosks that allow for customer interaction. Ten years ago, we expanded to include an enlarged engagement and wedding ring area, more floor space, a fireplace (we do live in northern Minnesota), coffee bar and large in-store goldsmithing repair shop. Another unique element, our English-style garden behind the store welcomes engaged couples and graduating seniors to take their portraits. I get to creatively take a majority of our Instagram and Facebook posts in this lush garden area! We also photograph our newly engaged and married couples within the store and then gift these professionally canvased pictures to our newlyweds!
My first Christmas in the business still holds some of my favorite memories! At a ripe 16, it’s hard to fathom what Christmas meant for a retail jewelry store. I had never seen such wall-to-wall fun, crazy, instant purchases, and gift-wrapping chaos! I’ll never forget my first big sale when one of our town’s very affluent men came in to purchase diamond earrings for his wife. I had no clue who he was or what he did. He asked to see earrings and I showed him my favorite pair of carat plus diamond stud earrings with diamond jacket enhancers. I couldn’t believe when he said to wrap them up! All I’d done was direct him to my favorite earrings and now they would be a gift for his wife. To this day, I still smile and reminisce with this customer the impactful event and his trust in my judgment!
Most importantly, I am a wife and mom. My family, faith, friends and business encompass who I am. Our family keeps involved with three teenagers. Our oldest son, Kelvin, will graduate this year from high school and our two daughters Breanna and Kylee are finishing their sophomore and eighth-grade years, respectively. We have three basketball players, two volleyball players, two track players and one trap shooting kid in the family. These activities bring us to quite a few high school sporting events! If we aren’t cheering on a bleacher, we’re involved in our church, enjoying family time at the lake cabin or traveling and making memories on the road! When I do have a break from schedules and the store, I love to cook, bake, relax on the dock, fish, exercise, paddle-board and curl up to watch a good movie.
Our Stuller partnership has stood strong since before I started working in the business. There has always been a Stuller catalog in the repair shop or engagement area. The Stuller Order Pad lives next to the phone, ready to gather necessary items for the shop. Today, I love the ease and convenience of Stuller.com. We place orders online in addition to using Stuller Showcase™ to work directly with clients. I absolutely love working with Stuller! They have some of the most courteous and knowledgeable staff. They make our jobs easier with dependably consistent product, diamonds, gemstones and assistance for special jobs. Attending the Bridge Event was also a helpful and useful way to learn more about Stuller.
With 75 years as an independent family business, we keep in mind that this business isn’t ours — it’s been entrusted to us. A woman of faith, I know God will cover our business through the ups and downs, learning curves, and industry changes. We are a unique store beginning each day with devotions. My daily prayers seek guidance, courage when I feel weak or unsure of situations, and direction to lead those I am fortunate to work alongside and call family and friends. Operating a family jewelry store leaves me feeling blessed and fortunate to interact with those who walk through our doors each day.
Interested in being the next jeweler showcased in our Feature Friday blog series? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.