Retailers who are looking at big changes ahead - and feeling overwhelmed or under-equipped to handle the challenge of closing, retiring, relocating or expanding - have a friend in the business.
Wilkerson and Associates has been in the retail jewelry business more than 40 years, helping other jewelers sell their inventory through closing and relocation sales. The company’s industry expertise and proven jewelry store sale strategies make it unique in the industry, with its expert in-house staff handling every aspect of a store closing sale, from advertising to real-time inventory management to price tagging.
Wilkerson, based in Stuttgart, Ark., is also known for “making a great store even better” or turning things around for a store trying to save itself from failing.
Having partnered with more than 5,000 jewelers, Wilkerson knows its business. Services, all done in-house, are remarkably comprehensive: Wilkerson helps to sell “inventory, fixtures, location, brand identity, customer list, furniture.” The company even assists employees in their new job searches.
Living up to its reputation as “jewelers helping other jewelers,” Wilkerson runs its own retail locations.
CEO and owner Bobby Wilkerson is a second-generation jeweler himself. He grew up in the business, working after school and weekends in his father’s watch repair and jewelry shop in Moulton, Ala. In 1972, Bobby launched Wilkerson Jewelers and as a young jeweler ran sales promotions for a chain of 32 stores.
Bobby visualized his lifelong career when at 28 years old he witnessed a dynamic going-out-of-business sale. As he says, “It’s every jeweler’s dream: Customers lined up dozens deep outside their store, clamoring to get in and buy their jewelry.”
First Step: Understanding
Wilkerson clients enjoy a free preliminary sales consultation to help define goals. Clients are asked to fill out a secure and confidential form before a personal conversation with an expert associate. A thorough examination of the retailer’s financials is required to develop realistic and effective strategies, helping the retailer understand exactly what his or her jewelry business is worth. By thoroughly analyzing a store, Wilkerson can accurately predict how effective a sale can be for the retailer.
As the company says, “Proprietary methods of inventory analysis, sales projections, marketing and advertising support, sales training, merchandising and accounting are part of the start-to-finish approach.”
Wilkerson has its own advertising agency in-house, along with its printing company, direct-mail service and merchandising company. The company also offers business brokerage and appraisal services.
Fifty in-house associates work in the Stuttgart location while more than 90 Wilkerson consultants, most of them former jewelers themselves, live all over the United States. Plans for a particular store’s sale are individualized to its market and demographics, such as average household incomes and education levels.
Wilkerson may recommend an inventory sale, reorganization or other changes in business procedures. Clients are assigned their own Wilkerson consultant, who works inside the store with the employees and conducts sales on a week-to-week basis. The consultant will remain with the retailer every step of the way, and sales at all locations are monitored daily by the home office.
Consultants pride themselves on being hands on - they literally run the sales.
Video testimonials on Wilkerson’s website give prospective customers a glimpse at how partnering with the company’s expert consultants can make a world of difference in terms of a sale’s financial success and, even more important to some, maintaining pride in one’s life work. A section on the website also locates past sales near any individual retailer by entering the retailer’s zip code. These are both great tools when jewelers want to reach out to another jeweler for a reference.
Retail clients, whose response is typically “I wish I’d called you sooner,” appreciate the individualized plans tailored to turn the best profit.
Established and revered family jewelry stores entrust their reputation to Wilkerson. The company has some lofty credits under its belt - Baxter Jewelry, an institution in the historic city of New Bern, N.C., Talcott Jewelers in Olympia, Wash., Elvis Presley’s personal jeweler, and the historic Galt & Bro. Jewelers in Washington, D.C.
Testimonials shine light on the partnering retailers’ experience: “Just during the sale, we added 900 new customers”…“If I would have known I could sell so much jewelry in three months, I would have done it every year” ... “We had a target goal to reach and we far surpassed it. We couldn’t have done it without them” ... “They’re straightforward, honest people. I needed the experience they bring to the table” ... “We get to go out with dignity and pride after being in Tucson for over 40 years” ... “I wouldn’t consider moving a store, closing a store, or retiring from a store in any market without first talking to Wilkerson” ... “Even with all the advertising, Wilkerson kept it very close and personal. That was really important to us.”
These are just a few of the thousands of retailers who have entrusted their store to the “Wilkerson Way,” which promises: “Sales plans, marketing, promotions and pricing expertise work together to create a seamless and profitable experience . . . opening the door to a new and fulfilling future.”
For more information about Wilkerson and Associates, you can call 800-631-1999 or visit the website www.wilkersons.com.