Over the years, Eaton Hudson has managed thousands of store and distribution center promotions and has liquidated billions of dollars of retail inventory. Projects have included companies such as Whitehall Jewelers, Friedman Jewelers, Fortunoffs, Ross Simons, Michael C. Fina, Saks Fifth Avenue, JC Penney, Macy’s and Barneys.
That said, mom-and-pop jewelry stores might be surprised to learn they’re the ones that make up the majority of Eaton Hudson Jewelry Advisors’ business.
“Our typical customer is a mom-and-pop jewelry store owner looking to retire and convert their assets into cash,” says Bob Epstein, who in 2016 as Silverman Consultants CEO partnered with Silverman COO John Jones to join forces with Eaton Hudson, forming Eaton Hudson Jewelry Advisors. Bob and John each possess over 30 years’ experience in conducting store promotion events for jewelers. Their company provides strategic advisory and execution solutions designed to maximize the value of retail inventory and furniture, fixtures & equipment in connection with store promotions and other retail disposition initiatives.
Eaton Hudson has offices in Charleston, S.C., Atlanta, Boston and Toronto. The company conducts sale events across the United States and Canada, working with all sizes of jewelers.
“Many small jewelers are doing less than $500,000 in annual volume and larger stores have done as much as $20,000,000 in annual volume,” Bob says. “We performed two of the largest liquidations in the jewelry industry when we worked with the bankruptcy court to liquidate Friedman Jewelers (over 400 stores) and Whitehall Jewelers (over 400 stores). We assisted Michael C. Fina with an anniversary event, have closed several locations for Ross Simons, assisted in the liquidation of Fortunoffs and are currently assisting in the liquidation of the jewelry at Barneys New York.
“However, since the jewelry industry is unique in that it is made up of mostly smaller chains and mom and pops, the majority of our clients are the typical mom-and-pop jeweler doing under $1,000,000 in volume.”
Respect for the jeweler, no matter how small, and protecting the reputation he or she has built over the years is fundamental to Eaton Hudson Jewelry Advisors’ success.
“When we receive a call from the jeweler, we treat all of the information with the strictest confidentiality,” Bob says. “We garner a complete understanding of the jeweler’s goals and perform due diligence reviewing information such as past sales history, detailed inventory information, advertising information and store history.
“We then prepare a sale budget, which we review with the store owner to make sure his goals will be met. Once everyone is in agreement with the sale plan, we create an inventory plan, often assisting in bringing in additional goods that are needed and bring in a sale supervisor to work with the store owner during the duration of the sale event. Many of the sale supervisors are ex-store owners that have come to work for us after we closed a store location for them. They are all seasoned jewelry veterans.”
Working with the mom-and-pop jeweler, Bob adds, “is very rewarding. You get more involved with the jeweler and learn as much as you can about their business so that you can put together a sale plan geared toward maximizing the recovery on the sale of their inventory. The liquidation of their inventory is extremely important to them as they are looking to create a nest egg for retirement. You only get one shot at running a successful closing/retirement event, so it is imperative that the plan will assure success.
“That is one of the things that sets us aside from our competitors as we customize a program for every individual owner. John Jones and I both get personally involved with every deal we work on. We customize an inventory program that best fits the store and matches the type of goods and price points that the store customers are comfortable with. We understand the importance of preserving the reputation that the jeweler has built up over the years and work closely with the jeweler on the advertising program to protect the image and integrity of the store.”
Bob says there have been several situations in which store owners decided not to close after running an event because they were able to create substantial cash flow during the event and acquire new customers. Eaton Hudson Jewelry Advisors will even work with the landlord to restructure the lease terms.
“It is very rewarding to know that we have helped a jeweler achieve his goals and to be able to retire comfortably,” Bob says. “We have created numerous friendships with past clients and still stay in touch quite often. Many are some of our best sources for finding us new deals as they want to assist another acquaintance with a successful retirement event.”