The Retailer’s Perspective: Ninety days till what???

Yep, actually, it’s less than that. Our Christmas season doesn’t start on December 15. Christmas season in the jewelry business starts in earnest around mid-September. Well, in reality, mine started around mid-May this year.

I’ve got this one area of my store that is just dead space. I’ve been in my location for 10 years and I’ve never been happy with it. There is an old HVAC system and hot water heater in a closet and neither one has worked since I’ve been here. There’s also this weird little hallway that goes to the closet. I’ve only opened the door to the closet 3 times in 10 years, so I just stack junk in front of it.

I’ve also got this other spot in my store room that also used to be a utility closet with a broken hot water heater in it. It also hasn’t worked in 10 years. I’ve opened this door more often because I keep the dust collector for my polishing machine in there. But I always have to move a bunch of junk aside to get to it.

Well, this summer was gonna be the summer that I took control of those spaces and turned them into usable, profitable spaces. I’ve been staring at them for 10 years trying to decide what to do with them. And to tell you the truth, I still don’t have an exact plan, but I can at least rip out the old stuff, and add drywall and paint so I can see it from a different perspective. I can probably have this demo’d, drywalled, and painted by the end of June. Then, whatever I decide to do with the space can be installed by mid-August. That’s plenty of time to have it finished by September, the beginning of the Christmas season.

So, the first week of June I’m ready to start my big summer project.

What I think is going to happen:

June, 2017: me and my trusty shop sidekick Nic will tear out the walls of the closets and haul off that mess so the plumbers can get in there and remove the hot water heaters and cap off the water lines. Then, the HVAC guys can get right to that old furnace and can cap the gas and Freon lines and haul the old unit away. Then, Nic and I will add new drywall and paint and finish the space out nice and pretty like.

July, 2017:  we’ll stare at the new space and think big thoughts. Then we’ll spend a few weekends on the water discussing different ideas about what we want to do with our newly acquired space. A kitchenette is sounding nice. Or maybe a gift wrapping station?

August, 2017:  Execute and install the above well thought out plan.

September, 2017:  enjoy my new spaces and look forward to using them during the upcoming Christmas season. Man, I love being sooo efficient.

What really happened:

June, 2017: What the heck is this thing in the wall for? Is that wire hot? Oh crap, it is hot. That hurt. Why did someone put a water line right there? Who the heck built this stupid closet? Why did someone use railroad spikes to nail this thing together? I’m gonna need a bigger saw. I didn’t get nearly as far as I thought I would. Someone call the plumbers and HVAC guys and reschedule them to next month. We’re not even close to ready for them. Man, I need a drink.

July, 2017: Someone call the plumbers and HVAC guys and reschedule them again. Why did someone cut that beam on that load bearing wall (not us, it was done a long time ago). I wonder what that’s gonna cost to fix? I wonder how long that’ll take because I’m already way behind schedule. Dang, I’m out of town next weekend and can’t be here to meet the plumber. Someone reschedule the contractor for the next weekend. Oh, he’s only available this weekend, and unavailable for the 2 after that. Well, let’s schedule for the first week of August. Oh wait, I’m out of town that weekend. How about the second weekend of August? Perfect.  See ya then. Geez, I need a beer.

August, 2017: What do you mean the plumber can’t come this weekend? I’ve got a schedule to follow and I’m already 2 months behind. I’ve got to finish this thing. Someone please bring me a beer.

September, 2017: finally, we’re ready for drywall. Nic and I are working nights and Sundays hanging drywall, taping, mudding, sanding and painting.

October: Okay, just stack that junk back where it used to be. We’ll decide what to do with this space later and finish it next summer.

At least the hard part is over. The part where the old stuff gets torn out, the utilities get moved, and everything gets covered with drywall and painted. Now the spaces are clean and shiny and ready to install something.

But, even though this remodel went exactly like every other remodel I’ve ever done, it doesn’t negate the fact that by the time you’re reading this, it’s Christmas Season in the jewelry business. Are you ready to switch from summer mode to Christmas mode?

Have you ordered gift boxes and cleaned and straightened out your storage area? Have you cleaned and organized your shipping and receiving space and ordered sufficient supplies? Have you pulled all of your showcases apart, one by one, and cleaned all of the glass and the displays? Have you ordered the business cards, printer ink, job tickets, or other basic supplies you’ll need in the next couple of months that you won’t have time to deal with? To tell you the truth, neither have I!

But, in my defense, I’ve got to submit my column about a month in advance, and this is my reminder to myself about what I need to get done in the next month or so to get ready for the upcoming busy season. The national jobs reports are looking good. Companies are having trouble hiring enough employees which means those people with jobs are feeling more secure than they have in a while. I hope that means they are willing to make up for the last few lean Christmas’s with some big purchases from all of us.

Enjoy the cooler weather and good luck this season.

Now go sell a bunch!!!

Chuck is the owner of Anthony Jewelers in Nashville, TN. Chuck also owns CMK Co., a wholesale trade shop that specializes in custom jewelry and repair services to the jewelry industry nationwide. If you would like to contact Chuck or need a speaker or instructor for your next conference/event he can be reached at 615-354-6361, or send e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..