04262017Wed
Last updateTue, 25 Apr 2017 11pm

Howard Kelrick

24 Karat Corner: The Passover message for jewelers

Depending on who is doing the counting, it looks like about 2,000 independent retail jewelry stores closed up shop in 2016. That’s about 10% of the total nationwide, and that is just astonishing. Many of these stores were third generation businesses and long established pillars of their communities.

The unfortunate thing for the owners is that they had to close their stores, rather than being able to sell them or transfer them to the next generation or the current staff. This means that instead of getting a multiple of the store’s earnings and full value for the inventory, the owner’s had to settle for some fraction of the value of the store’s remaining stock.


24 Karat Corner: Who cares about overhead?

Recently I visited a mall far, far away. I was desperately searching for the food court in a mall that had clearly seen better days. Many of the store fronts were empty, and the retailers that were open were down-market and tired looking. As I turned the corner, I saw a small jewelry store. “Bonus!” I thought, someone to point me in the right direction and maybe even have lunch with.

24 Karat Corner: Are you irreplaceable

I don’t often eat fast food, but when I do, I prefer McDonald’s.  So, after a couple of hours on I-95, when I saw a sign for a MickieD’s at the next exit, I figured, why not?  It must have been a long time since I’ve eaten under the golden arches, because I barely recognized the place.  Yes, the usual signs were there for the order-by-number selections, but behind the counter, there were no order-takers/cashiers!  Just a row of computer terminals for you to enter your order and pay!

24 Karat Corner: Babies and Cash

It’s been said that two of the most important things in the world come without instructions - babies and cash. First to babies...

My daughter was going to have a baby recently, and I was pressed into service (ok, I leapt at the opportunity) to take care of her two year old while she was in the hospital. When I got to New York, I was handed a small sheet of instructions that only included a few items such as bed time, nap time and snack time. It took me a minute to realize these were not suggestions for me, but for my granddaughter. This was not the complete set of instructions that would be useful to a grandfather taking care of his baby granddaughter alone in New York City for the first time.

24 Karat Corner: The summer intern speaks freely

Summer is half way through.  The beer aisle at my favorite liquor store is finally running out of those vapid light “summer” ales, the afternoon summer thunder storms are rolling in, and our summer intern has finally found her groove and is getting comfortable in the office.  Perhaps too comfortable.

24 Karat Corner: So long 2015!

There wasn’t exactly a lot of things to be thankful for this past year. Precious metal prices languished throughout the year, meaning the pieces you bought earlier in the year cost way more than the current replacement cost. The already razor thin margins on diamonds have gotten even skinnier, and in some cases have gone negative as some dealers and retailers have been selling below cost to generate cash flow (do that often enough, and there is a name for you - bankrupt!). Store traffic was lackluster. Many of the brands that drove sales in previous years have grown tired and stale. Financial markets and housing prices were flat generating none of the “wealth effect” needed to generate consumer enthusiasm for jewelry. All in all, good riddance to you, 2015.

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