Shopping today can be overwhelming. Should you look online, at a big store, or at a small business? It’s even trickier when it comes to jewellery. You want to ensure that you’re getting something beautiful, well-made, and at a fair price. It’s also important to know that you’ll be taken care of in the future.
For almost 15 years, I worked for corporate jewellers. Over 20 years ago, I first came to work for Astwood Dickinson. Since I have experienced working for both a jewellery chain and a locally owned store, I want to share with you some of the reasons why you should consider buying your jewellery (or watches) from a small business.
1. Top-Notch Customer Service
At small stores, business is about more than just business. Business is family, neighbours, and community. Most business owners are passionate about what they do and eager to serve you well. The employees often work closely with the owners and are hired for their commitments to excellence, which means you should receive stellar service. No other type of business depends more on word-of-mouth referrals than small businesses. Usually, their customer service reflects that. Plus, when problems arise, they’ll resolve them quickly without the need to go through the “chains of command” that big businesses are subject to. Astwood Dickinson has been Bermudian family owned for its entire 116 year history
2. Superior Quality
This one’s a little touchy, but it’s true – you’ll generally find better quality jewellery at a local store versus a mall store or online. For example, many chain stores are veering away from natural gemstones. You’ll find mostly lab-created gems set into sterling silver, which is fine if that’s what you’re looking for. But if you’re searching for a genuine gemstone set into 14 or 18 karat gold or even platinum, you’ll have much better luck at your local family-owned jewellery store. Furthermore, many of jewellery’s top brands are offered exclusively by independently owned stores. So, if you want the best, you’ve got to shop small.
3. Great Selection
You may think that you’ll receive the best selection from a big chain store, but the opposite is true. Independent jewellers have access to many of the same vendors as the big stores do – and then some. At Astwood Dickinson, we even have access to most of what you’ll find online and with significantly lower prices with no sales tax and duties already covered. No matter what, make sure you check your local store before assuming you can’t find what you want.
4. It Supports Your Local Economy
When you shop at a small business, you’re helping your local economy. Whether you’re shopping for jewellery, food, furniture, or clothes – the money you spend locally is more likely to end up back in your town. According to the American Independent Business Alliance, 48% of the money you spend at a small businesses will end up being recirculated in your community. In contrast, only 14% of the money spent at big businesses is spent locally. So, next time you shop small, you can give yourself a pat on the back for doing a good thing.
5. In-House Jewellers
Most locally owned jewellery stores employ on-site bench jewellers. That means when you drop off your engagement ring to have a prong fixed, it doesn’t leave the premises. So, you don’t have to worry about it being lost or stolen during shipment. Isn’t it a relief to know that when you leave your treasures with us, they won’t leave our building? And bonus: Many times your repair will be done in half the time!
6. The Same (If Not Better) Guarantees
If you think that you can get the best warranties and company backing from a chain jewellery store, you’re mistaken. Many times your local jeweller will stand behind their products with the same guarantees. And while chain stores will charge for these warranties, many times they are included with a purchase from an independent store. You may ask, “But what if I move?” Have no fear. At Astwood Dickinson, we sell famous International brands which come with global warrantees. That means you’ll always have someone nearby to take care of your jewellery or watches.
7. A Sense of Community
Lastly, shopping at your local jewellery store (or at any small business) fosters a sense of community. Often these stores are family owned and operated. Shopping at so-called “mom and pop” stores helps build community by allowing you to get to know your neighbours better. And in an age where half of us don’t know our neighbours’ names, community is something we could all use a little more of.
While I can’t speak for all small businesses when writing this post, I can absolutely speak for what you’ll experience at Astwood Dickinson. This new “post-pandemic world is the perfect time to stop in and see for yourself!