After a dozen years of providing to Murfreesboro’s jewelry-buying community, Gem in the Box Jewelry Shoppe is calling it quits.
Rising gold prices and Internet sales have taken their toll on the locally owned business, said Eddie Smotherman, who opened the store on West Northfield Bouleveard some 12 years ago.
“My first year, I sold about 40 watches and adjusted about four bands (that weren’t bought in the store), and last December, I sold four watches and adjusted 40 bands that were bought online,” he said. “Online sales are devastating to brick and mortars.”
Smotherman explained how an increase in precious metals has driven up the market more than 10 percent.
Ten years ago, an inventory worth $100,000 was needed to maintain a small jewelry store, but now that amount has risen to nearly $1 million, he continued.
Oftentimes, jewelry stores will begin buying gold to keep their doors open, but Smotherman said he would rather not take that route.
“Along with the economy ... in the past year, we’ve probably had six robberies within a hundred yards of our business,” he said, citing the deterioration of the neighborhood. “We have never had a year where we’ve had that many robberies that close to us.”
Although Gem in the Box is closing for good, Smotherman said he is optimistic about the future.
“It’s not a bad thing; when one door closes, another one opens," he said. "We truly have a positive attitude. We’re not worried about it. It’s going to be fine. I hate the fact that we cannot provide the service we’ve provided to so many good customers that we’ve provided for so many years. Of course, my community involvement with the (Murfreesboro) City Council and work will continue.”
Gem in the Box will officially close on Friday, Feb. 15.
Smotherman is inviting shoppers to visit him and save 25 percent on current inventory.
NFIB offering national exposure to small business
The National Federal of Independent Business is offering national exposure, a $5,000 prize and one-year memberships to small-business owners who submit a video detailing how they started their businesses.
"Small business is the engine that powers the American economy, and small-business success stories are powerful inspiration for future entrepreneurs," said Mark Garzone, NFIB spokesman. "We want to give small-business owners the chance to tell the world how they launched their business."
Throughout February, entrepreneurs can visit www.nfib.com and submit a video about how they built their business. Each week, a panel will pick three winners who will have their video posted on the website and receive a free one-year membership to the association.
At the end of four weeks, website visitors will vote for their favorites from the 12 weekly winners, with the winning business owner receiving $5,000 cash.
The contest is open to any independently owned business of less than 500 employees incorporated or organized in the United States. Entries will be judged based on creativity and originality.
Kroger customers support Food Angel Tree program
Kroger Inc. and its customers contributed more than $401,050 to the Salvation Army through the Food Angel Tree program this past holiday season, according to a press release.
The program is similar to the regular Angel Tree program except when a customer picks an angel from the tree at Kroger, they contribute $25 at checkout to provide a family with Christmas dinner.
“Without Kroger, Christmas would be a lot less filling for many hungry families,” said Lt. Colonel Charles White, of the Nashville Area Command of the Salvation Army. “We cannot say thank you enough to all the generous people who wanted to make sure that everyone in this community had enough food during Christmas.”
The charitable effort at 63 area Kroger stores helped feed thousands of families at Christmas.
Kroger also hosted The Salvation Army’s iconic Red Kettles that raise much needed funding that supports the organization’s programs and services year round.
In the Nashville area alone, 32 kettles at Kroger stores raised $156,042. The grocery store chain also provided food for all Salvation Army Angel Tree warehouse employees and volunteers over the holiday season.
“We were honored to be able to team up with the Salvation Army to help make Christmas brighter for families in need,” said Melissa Eads, community affairs manager for Kroger. “Our customers and associates are very giving and have a history of responding anytime we give them the opportunity to reach out to those less fortunate.”