Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Catching a Breath



Richard Alan

What do you mean, Richard isn’t here?

The light at the end of the tunnel I presumed to be an oncoming train was actually daylight and a sign of good things to come.

To my surprise the move I dreaded making from Front Street, my original location on the island for 17 years to my current location next to Beall’s at Island Plaza proved to be the smartest thing I’ve done in a long time, besides leaving New England in ‘94.

In fact the work coming in only days after reopening was at times so overwhelming, obviously the result of being in limbo mode for three months then add a December deluge of Christmas orders, the hours worked have left me a physical frazzle and before I could catch my breath, January kicked in and season arrived and knocked out what ever stuffing I had left.

Preferring to avoid the coronary which I saw coming on the horizon, I had to simply wave the white flag. Yeah, I did the unthinkable, taking a vacation during season!

Now it is summer on the rock, my right hand bench jeweler, Sam, has retired after being with me for 16 years, and it has honestly been like losing an appendage. You never appreciate what you have until it’s gone. Happy #%!@$” retirement, Sam! Now my son Andrew has stepped up to the plate and makes me proud.

My exceptional seasonal sales staff of Yankee lady snowbirds have now flown the coop, to summer in Cape Cod, leaving a skeleton crew that consists of me and three burned out family members.

So in keeping with my tradition, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going! Namely me! It’s good to be the boss!

It was time for me to leave the rock! Now that things are slow, I have decided to try out a little bit of this snowbird thing for myself!

A little business will be conducted here and there, but I intend to devote most of my time to R&R this summer. As I write this column, I am sitting by Blue Spring Lake chillin in southern Wisconsin, feeling more relaxed than I have in decades.

It’s been a rough road the past four years for most retailers including here on our insulated island and the luxury industry was hardest hit. I am fortunate to be alive and kicking while other so called island jewelers have gone by the wayside or worse, crashed and burned. Surviving on this island was no easy task.

Most folks just simply stopped buying gold jewelry, in fact the public sold me more jewelry then I sold them in record numbers these past years.

Buying gold from the public became big business. We are talking billions of dollars of gold worldwide here. Speaking for myself a small piece of the selling spree helped me survive the last Great Depression. Hence the light at the end of the tunnel thing.

Thank heaven I make a living with my two hands. A jewelry salesperson only has his or her mouth and the knowledge of an expensive product that most Americans cannot afford to own or justify buying. Repairing broken jewelry you own is still more economical than buying it new.

The buying gold from the public craze has certainly waned. Have you noticed there are no longer sign wavers on every street corner?

Because I work with my hands (and occasionally my brain,) even that can be exhausting, concentrating on minute objects and performing tedious and intricate work for hours on end takes its toll. (And I’m not a kid anymore and was considering semi- retiring.) Besides that, I perform services at break neck speed for other facets of the jewelry business for months on end and there are many.

It involves buying, selling, changing watch batteries, estimating, appraising costs, designing, creating, repairing, casting, setting gems & diamonds, gold and rhodium plating, laser welding, setting up and working an engraving machine, cleaning and polishing customers’ jewelry.

That does not include answering phone calls and waiting on customers, whew!!

No wonder I’m wiped out! I am in a serious recharge mode both physically and mentally sitting here by the lake counting my blessings, enjoying family and friends and fully dedicated to taking it slow and easy this summer. You know, this snow bird thing I could get used to.

I will be in and out of the shop for the duration of the summer enjoying life. Please call in advance for my off season work schedule: 239-394-9275.

Have a safe and happy summer and enjoy the ones you love!



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