South Florida area independent jewelry stores are rebounding after weathering several rough years of slow sales.
Cutler Altier, owner of Altier Jewelers in Boca Raton, said he expects more ofMother’s Day this year, hopefully marking another year of growth for his 52-year-old company.
South Florida jewelers say they have fared better than some other areas of the country due to the quickly recovering high end clientele that most local jewelers cater to, said Robert Bates, senior editor of JCK Magazine, a New York-based jewelry publication.
“The wealthy are doing much better than the rest of us,” Bates said. “They got their spending confidence back first.”
Because of this, Altier Jewelers was able to put more than $1 million worth of renovations into its 3,500-square-foot showroom on South Federal Highway. Altier said his sales of exclusive high-end watch brands, such as Patek Philipppe and Piaget which sell for thousands of dollars, is what helped him get through the downturn.
“We carry watch lines that broaden our customer base out of Boca Raton,” Altier said.
But it wasn’t long ago that jewelers were struggling. There was a span of about 24 months where Altier Jewelers’ one-store company saw a dip in sales, Altier said.
“Business for everybody in our industry came to a full grinding halt,” Altier said. “It was like a hurricane came through and wiped everything out.”
More than 70 percent of jewelers surveyed by National Jeweler, an industry publication, reported gains in store sales in 2011. According to the report, 24 percent of jewelers said sales were up by more than 10 percent, and 20 percent of jewelers said their sales climbed more than 20 percent year-over-year since 2010.
Levinson Jewelers on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale reported strong sales in January and February after seeing a slow period in November and December of last year, said owner Robin Levinson. The business relies on street traffic from snow birds and tourists in Fort Lauderdale’s downtown business district, she said.
“Our season traditionally ends in April when the snow birds go home,” Levinson said. “It is notorious every year. That’s when we enter our slow season.”
In light of this, Levinson Jewelers is hosting the Ultimate Watch Fair with Ocean Drive Magazine on May 19 to encourage sales for Mother’s Dayand Father’s Day. NFL Hall of Famer, Dan Marino, will make a guest appearance in the store. Proceeds of sales will go to various charities.
“People still want to buy jewelry for special occasions,” Levinson said. “And we’re going to host events to promote that.”