Jeweler recently celebrated 10 years in business. Co-owner says customization and faster repairs give the business a competitive edge
By Alexandre Plate
For the last 10 years, JP Jewelers has been offering competitive prices and quality services to the jewelry buyers in Oswego County. Co-owner Kevin Hill says that he plans for nothing but growth for the family-owned-and-operated business on Oswego’s westside.
JP Jewelers was founded in September 2009. That year, Anthony Pauldine, the local contractor and businessman, purchased and renovated the storefront at 136 W. Bridge St. The building, which had been home to a jewelry store beforehand as well, was damaged in a fire that started next door. His brother, James Pauldine, took over the storefront once Anthony was finished with the renovations, and opened JP Jewelers.
“James understood that there would be potential with the customer base that had been coming there for 30 years,” said Kevin Hill, co-owner of the store and James’s stepson. “He was actually a colleague of the previous owner, he thought it was a great opportunity to open the business in this location.”
Currently, JP Jewelers employs three people; Pauldine, who is the head jeweler and goldsmith; Hill, who manages the business side of things and Leanne Joice-Gillen, who works as the in-house goldsmith and master carver. Joice-Gillen primarily handles repairs and the custom work that JP Jewelers offers, which Hill says is a rare opportunity for a shop of their size.
“It used to be common that most, or all, jewelers had a smith onsite, but now we’re seeing that most jewelers outsource their work,” Hill said. “Leanne allows us to do all of our work on premises, which is very important for people when they’re leaving their valuables to know that they’ll be secure and safe.”
Joice-Gillen’s work with their custom offerings is something that Hill says sets JP Jewelers apart. The shop has a long-standing relationship with the Oswego Speedway, and produces all of their championship rings, as well as custom super modified racing-themed jewelry and custom lighthouse charms. Most goldsmiths do not work with metal casting beyond small repairs, according to Hill, but Joice-Gillen, who has a bachelor’s degree in jewelry design from SUNY Oswego, is able to do so.
The jewelry industry has changed a lot in the last few decades, and Hill says that a bulk of the competition today comes from mall stores and national chains. Those stores have millions of dollars to spend on advertising, and small businesses like JP Jewelers are unable to compete in the advertising game. However, Hill says that local shops still offer a much higher degree of service and customization, as well as faster repairs when compared to their larger competitors.
JP Jewelers advertises itself as a provider of high-quality, low cost products. Hill says that the store is able to offer lower prices on repairs, products and services because the business is structured for low-markup, high-volume sales. Compared to a national chain store, JP Jewelers offers its products at a cost below their average retail price, according to Hill. While profit is still made from every sale, the margins are a lot smaller. The difference is, JP Jewelers sells a lot more jewelry in a day than an average retail store.
“I think that our numbers are unusual for a jewelry store of our size,” Hill said. “A regular store may see three to four customers in a day and make so much off of them to cover the cost of keeping the store open. We may see 30 to 40 customers a day and generate that same amount of profit.”
The store continues to grow, buying and selling more and more jewelry each year. As well as selling retail jewelry, JP Jewelers buys pieces from estate sales and purchases from individual sellers. To keep up with their growing inventory and demand, Hill said that he would like to add another position to their team, responsible for handling online sales.
Hill said that he would like to see the storefront itself expand as well, to offer more space for more products and services, as well as improve the parking around the shop.