As many companies experience the recession, and the business problems related to it, there are some success stories here in South Florida. A case in point is the continued expansion and success of Chain Reaction Jewelers now named CR Jewelers.
Twin brothers Lawrence and Donald Weinberg came to Miami from New York in 1980. With college degrees in hand they saw an opportunity to sell jewelry in a Flea Market setting. A year passed, business was good, and they expanded to three locations in two different Flea Markets. The first regular retail store was born in September 1981, in downtown Miami....across from the legendary Miami Jewelry Seybold building instead of inside it! They wanted everyone to know they existed and were here to stay! Years passed with the boys making it into some major regional Florida malls, including Westland, Miami International, Cutler Ridge and Sawgrass Mills to name a few. Now in the end of a post 9-11 economy and the middle of the Real Estate downturn, they have opened their 16th major mall store after more than 27 years in business.
Twin brothers Lawrence and Donald have the distinction of having the highest rating (#1) by the Jewelers Board of Trade and one of the highest $ per square foot earned in a Regional Mall. The secret to their success lies partly to their strange but effective advertising. During the 1980's when the "Miami Is For Me" campaign was the tourists boards slogan, the brothers decided to contribute a penny for every inch of 14kt gold chain they sold.
After a year of promoting the "Miami Is For Me" campaign, they delivered by armored car almost $3,000 in pennies!! That's 300,000 pennies or 6,000 rolls! "The funniest part about the whole thing" Donald said, was the thank you letter we received the next day. A courier came with a 10 page note saying "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! 3,000 times!
Another promotion they were involved in is "Win a Wedding at McDonalds".
Larry likes to refer to it as the "Famous
Valentine's Day in the mid 90’s at Facade nightclub in Ft. Lauderdale was more than exciting. Radio commercials on 3 radio stations exclaimed. 5,000 half carat cubic zirconia’s and 5 half carat diamonds were to be given out. The catch was no one knew if they got a real diamond worth over $3,000 or a Cubic Zirconia worth $2.00. "Is it a Diamond or a CZ, only CR Jewelers knows for sure" was what the card said that had the stone attached to it.
Needless to say, the club Valentines eve was standing room only! All the CR Jewelers stores that entire week was a mad house with people wondering if they were one of the lucky 5 to win a diamond.
Another advertising scheme involves a 747 airplane with the Chain Reaction logo emblazoned on the fuselage. The brothers say the air plane is used to import Diamonds from Belgium and 14kt gold from Italy so they don’t have to pay a middleman. Another one of their well thought-out schemes or possibly a real 747 I guess we will never know!
Donald admits "After all is said and all is done the success of the company lies solely on the people that work with us. All the advertising gimmicks and schemes in the world would not work if the customers come into the store and are faced with ineptitude." "The people that work with us are most knowledgeable, fast and efficient", Donald says. "Our staff is the true secret of our success," echoes Larry.
Success does not come easily, both brothers work 60 to 70 hours per week, but will make themselves available for further discussion. If you are interested in knowing more about the CR Jewelers companies success and their significant contribution to the South Florida economy. Currently we own and operate 16 locations in 10 different states. We are planning to open our newest store in New Jersey in the 4th quarter. Our most aggressive store build out to date.
The current business climate forced us to become a more inventory driven company rather than a marketing one. We now cater primarily to the Diamond market. Importing most of our Diamond jewelry from companies that own Diamond Mines, gives the customer a better quality diamond at a much lower price.
The diamond market has changed dramatically in the last year or so. Larger companies like our selves are now buying directly from the mines cutting out the middlemen and the wholesalers. We pass the savings directly to our customers. “We like to refer to our customers as ‘clients’ Donald adds, “we try to have long term relationships with anyone who enters our stores” We have been in Miami International Mall and Westland Mall Hialeah, Florida for more than 15 years! In Sawgrass Mills Mall Florida, One of the largest Malls in the United States we were the first jewelry store to sign a lease back in 1995. “Longevity is why our relationships with our clients make a strong bond”
An example of the dedication we have to our clients was clearly shown when a custom made Diamond Wedding Band was late being finished. The wedding was in Key Largo. The ring was finished the day of the wedding, with no time to send it, our manager drove 2 hours down to the Keys to hand deliver the ring. Just in time! Oh yeah, she was hastily invited to the wedding and reported back it was a beautiful ceremony and affair, on the beach, bare-foot and all !
We clearly understand we are in the midst of an Internet boom and are fully leveraging the technologies available to us. We are now operating a Diamond Ring Building website at www.crjewelers.com where you are able to pick from over 7,000 diamonds. You can then have the diamond set in the ring of your choice and it will be delivered directly to your house.
If you would like to see the diamond you picked in our store, be my guest. We can have the diamond delivered to the store for you to take a look at.CR Jewelers, with the help of their Customers and Associates will be celebrating their 29th Anniversary in September. We thank you both for making our success! For without you, there would be no US. ;-)