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Competing with Big Box Stores is a Non-Issue for Locally-Owned Businesses

Family-owned jewelry stores say their clientele is much different than the crowd running to a mall jewelry store on Black Friday.

Back in 1990, a week after Black Friday, David Nelson Exquisite Jewelry opened its doors. And, they have been going strong ever since. The jeweler, which is owned by Joliet native David Nelson, believes that there is something more important than offering the biggest discount on Black Friday - customer service.

"Instead of advertising, we try to keep the customers we already have," he said.

To that end, the jewelry store sends ornaments every year to its top 2,500 customers. The ornament is not a sales gimmick.

"It's just an ornament; a gift to hang on their tree," Nelson said.

Nelson said his store is not crowded on Black Friday.

"We're not usually busy on that Friday," Nelson said. "Most people swarm to the malls to do their power shopping."

That's also true of Paolucci Jewelers. Tom Manno and his wife Mary own the Woodridge location, while Tom's mother-in-law and father-in-law own the Joliet store, which has been in business since 1972. In Joliet, the store is the Paolucci Diamond Center.

"For us its pretty much completely different," Manno said of the stores' approach to Black Friday. But, both stores carry the Pandora line. And, on Black Friday, Pandora releases a special charm that is only available that time of the year.

"It’s one charm actually and when we run out we run out," Manno said.

Both David Nelson and Paolucci are destination jewelers.

"We’re a go-to location, destination," Nelson said. "When people pull in front, we know they are coming to buy."

His customers are loyal and trust the jeweler.

"You get a rapport and a relationship with him and that means more than putting an ad in the paper," Nelson said.

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