Looking back over the last five years, Andrew Shelly smiles and says… “Every day is still interesting and fun.”
Since opening Andrew Douglas Jewelers in downtown Elizabethtown during the spring of 2012, Andrew says he enjoys the “everyday variety” as the store celebrates its fifth anniversary. “The interactions with all types of people make each day interesting and fun. I love hearing our customer’s stories. And I’m truly humbled by the friendships I’ve developed with many of them. Customers have turned into friends and have become a fantastic part of my life. I’ve spent time with them in social settings, been invited to their homes and I’m getting ready to attend a customer’s wedding this spring. They’re more “friends” than “customers”. I enjoy being a part of their lives.”
“Getting to know people and who they are, and what’s important to them, is actually intertwined with the jewelry buying experience. Sometimes it’s helping them with a sentimental ring that needs repaired and other times it’s helping them with a special purchase for a loved one,” Andrew explains. “I have men that come into the store at Christmas and feel out of their depth, but since we have gotten to know their wives or girlfriends, the men know we’ll have the perfect idea to make their special someone smile.”
And when customers walk into the store, located at 44 South Market Street in Elizabethtown, they feel right at home and part of the community. “I often hear that people love the look of my store. It’s not too big or overwhelming… it’s charming and comfortable. People like our personal touch and approach. You don’t feel like you’re intruding and you don’t have to flag down a sales associate to get help. We take the time to chat and swap stories with customers before we get to the reason they came to see us. Our store is very service driven as well. Repair work, watch batteries and those sorts of services are a huge part of what we do and often how people come to trust us for their larger purchases.”
“I think our customers really feel at home with us. They realize we are a place where their needs are important and where we’ll cater to their unique tastes. They know we genuinely care about them and we’re not just there to sell them jewelry.” Andrew says that being an owner allows him to set up the guidelines for how he operates the store, but also allows him to bend the rules, when it’s in the best interest of his customers. “We had a customer put an estate ring on layaway which can usually be extended up to 9 months. But our customer had a special anniversary that was 2 years away, and his wife balances the checkbook. He didn’t want her to notice he was buying it, so he paid $25 cash a month towards the purchase for 2 years and I was fine with that. A big box store would never have that kind of flexibility. Plus, I had the added bonus of getting to chat with him every month for 2 years!”
“One of the surprises over the last five years is how big of a need there is in providing answers and information about items people already have.” Andrew explains that whether it is a written estimate, an overall appraisal or just helping people sell unwanted items, he is regularly reviewing pieces that customers bring in to the store. “We have a dozen people every week coming in to sell an item and they’re looking to us for guidance on what to do with it and what the value is...we are glad to help wherever we can.”
“And we’re fair and always provide honest feedback. Once, I had a couple come in with a box of their Grandma’s old jewelry. Their kitchen stove needed replaced and they were hoping the jewelry would bring $50-60 to put towards the stove. When I told them it was worth $500, they were shocked. Truly, if they had taken it to a pawn shop or a less than reputable store and said they were looking for $50, that’s what they would have gotten instead of a fair assessment and a fair price.”
That experience also helps customers with identifying the quality and value of the items they have. “I’ll look through their jewelry, tell them what’s real, what’s not, what the value is and what can be done to create a new setting and make the item wearable within their individual tastes. We help restore Heirloom pieces for customers, from minor prong and setting repairs, to more restorative projects, where we replace or recreate settings…so a piece that has been in a drawer, or tucked away for years, finds new life!”
“We recently had a customer with a 1920s antique diamond and sapphire ring and one of the sapphires broke. They don’t cut sapphires the same way they used to, but we were able to have a sapphire custom cut to fit into her ring without changing the look from 100 years ago.”
Andrew Douglas Jewelers also does custom design as well. “Every month, we’re helping a handful of customers design the perfect piece for diamonds or gemstones they already have… or we’re helping someone design the perfect engagement ring that makes the ring unique to her and her alone. Our process makes custom design affordable, by using modern 3-D printing technology paired with long standing jewelry manufacturing techniques.”
“One of our favorite things is the estate jewelry case, which usually contains around 100 pieces at any given time. We use the term “estate” meaning pre-owned pieces. Some pieces are antique, or from an estate auction… others are from customers bringing them into the store. However, only one in every hundred pieces coming in meets my quality standards. There are rings, necklaces, bracelets and unique one of kind pieces that can’t be replaced…once they leave that case, they’re gone forever!”
Aside from the estate jewelry, the store has unique and stunning pieces from award winning designers from all over the United States. “I have personal relationships with the owners and the designers themselves. One of my favorites is a collection called Nicole Barr, who does very colorful, fine enamel and gemstone work in flowers, nature and modern themes. They use a technique of enameling called: “Plique-a-jour”, essentially miniature stained glass suspended in a silver wire framework. It makes for stunning butterfly pieces. Their pieces start at $75 and are all in sterling silver.”
For the last couple years, the store has also carried the Angelica Collection. It is a line of modern styled, stackable bracelets made from recycled metals right here in the US, and Andrew is amazed at the response! “We’ve sold close to 1,000 bracelets, and a portion of those proceeds go to Generation Rescue, an Autism Awareness Non-Profit Organization.”
As far as choosing inventory, Andrew says “we try our best to be all things to all people. Whether you need a $25 gift or a $2500 gift, a $100 gift, or a $10,000 one, we have it. We have great pieces of jewelry in all price ranges and we understand sometimes you have a specific budget to purchase something for someone special and we can work within that, without sacrificing quality or craftsmanship. I also have a better grasp on what our community is looking for when it comes to style and inventory than I did five years ago. When you go to a jewelry trade show, you always see very interesting pieces. Now, I can look at those styles and think of specific customers that would like them and gear my purchases more to our community and specific customers.”
When it comes the many engagement rings that the store has been a part of, Andrew says “Usually, a couple will come in and she’ll give us an idea of what she likes, but not the exact ring and then he’ll follow up with me to put together the custom style for her in a budget that’s comfortable for him. We work very hard to put the exact finishing touches on the ring, without stretching people beyond where they’re comfortable.”
“Even more than its sparkle and beauty, I love the ability jewelry has to capture heartfelt emotions and a special moment.”
With Mother’s Day just a week and a half away, Andrew Douglas Jewelers has a lot of special gifts in all price ranges, including a free bracelet giveaway with any purchase over $50. “People are often surprised to hear Mothers’ Day is the store’s second biggest shopping holiday. When you think about it…moms are universal. All of us have or had a mom and while some are no longer with us, there is a special bond and Mother’s Day is a holiday where we show our appreciation for everything mom’s do for us, and what they mean to us.”
“I have a lot of ties to this community. My mom’s family is from Elizabethtown and my dad grew up in Mount Joy, so living here all my life, I knew that Elizabethtown could use a local jeweler. I’m thankful for the patronage and support I’ve received from the community over the last five years and I believe in giving back. I serve on the Elizabethtown Chamber’s Board of Directors, as well as a downtown committee that focuses on improving the downtown experience for visitors by supporting current businesses and recruiting potential businesses.”
When asked about his future plans, Andrew believes supporting the downtown Elizabethtown business district is key. “My hope for the future is continued improvement in downtown business and the Elizabethtown area overall. I want to improve the community and its ability to bring more people downtown. Doing that will benefit the community, our residents and other businesses, which is positive for everyone.”
Andrew Douglas Jewelers is located at 44 S. Market Street in Elizabethtown. Their hours are Tue/Wed from 10am-6pm, Thurs. from 10am-8pm, Fri. from 10am-6pm, and Sat. from 10am-4pm. You can reach them by phone (717.366.4630) or learn more at their website (www.andrewdouglasjewelers.com).
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