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|Proud Members Of| |Our Story by Jim Patrick|


The Jewel Box Family



By JIM PATRICK

jewel box The Jewel Box's manager and co-owner Kathryn Barnes went to university to study criminology and discovered a crime! She had wasted her time. Instead she should have opted for something else, goldsmithing, for instance.

Goldsmithing?

Yes, Why not? She's the kid who was raised on the Mile of Gold in Kirkland Lake and what could be more natural for a Kirkland Lake girl than to work with the metal so many men in town had moiled so hard to obtain just a few hundred feet below her store?

Having been wooed by the bright city lights, she was lured back home by the peace and lifestyle of the North.

"I started the store because I felt there was a need for a goldsmith in town," she said. And she was right, because a per centage of her business revolves around the craft.

jewel box Funny to think that her mother, Janet, "a jewelry junkie" bored her to tears as a child by dragging her from one jewelry store to another. Now, you can't get her out of a jewelry store because it's her own!

She admits she developed her interest in the business by visiting her cousin's jewelry store when she was a student at York University. Kathryn visited once too often because she got bit by the "gold bug" and the "infection" has been in her system since. There's nothing like working out your own designs in gold and silver, she discovered. Besides, customers can also get support and service when they purchase a piece of jewelry without waiting days for an item to be returned.

The Jewel Box celebrates its seventh year of operation and like its owners, the store has come a long way from Main Street on the outskirts of town to a front and centre location in a former well-known jewelry store on Government Road right in the downtown core. There was just a brief stopover at 59 Government Road near the A-One Variety store.

"We were determined when we started that we would keep this store going for at least three years come what may," recalled Kathryn.

Commenting on the growth of their business, Kathryn said, "We basically doubled our inventory; our size; giftwares - Took a chance and went bigger."

jewel box Now, Janet and Kathryn are making projections on their business plan for the next five years.

You've heard of a Mom and Pop operation! well, this is a Mom and daughter business and it has been so successful that business has soared into cyberspace. The store has its own website www.tjb.ca . Not only does it carry information on the latest jewelry styles and products, it also contains news about the store and what is going on in Kirkland Lake. This is a service provided free of charge for her Kirkland Lake neighbours and friends who have moved away but who still want to keep in touch with the old town.

Talk about the Jewel Box and you're talking about Kathryn Barnes. They are one and the same and that might be a reason why it is so successful. She is completely dedicated to moving her business forward and she has combined her business smarts with a talent for promotion. She does her own radio commercials which are on par with any other professional ads, you'll hear. It's the sort of thing that happens when you're interested in something.

"You have to create a business identity and then work with it. That's what we have done to give our store 'an edge'."

The "edge" is to stock products her customers won't find elsewhere in the North.

Walk into the store and you'll discover a new world. At least, that's what her customers say.

"It's sort of like leaving Kirkland Lake," customers have told Kathryn. No wonder.

Kathryn and Janet have found suppliers from such exotic fashion spots as Italy and Europe with some fashion stock coming in from as far away as Australia. The result has given the store an "urban" flavour something you'd expect to find in downtown Toronto. Another major feature is the owners have gone to lengths to make visitors feel at home and welcome.

"It is important to be friendly; to be part of the community and to support it," Kathryn philosophizes. "This has always been 'a fun' store, comfortable. At least, that is what we have tried to project."

Part of that support includes being part of the community and Kathryn has fulfilled this obligation as a member and past president of the Kirkland Lake and District Chamber of Commerce.

"I think that's why we have received some support back."

Recalling the events of the past seven years, Kathryn said, "The store has grown so fast that it has created its own momentum. I had planned to work on my own line of jewelry, but the store took me in a completely different direction."

The store's major wares is jewelry. It carried top Canadian lines but has now expanded to carry those from Europe and Australia.

"This is our focus. The giftware just adds dimension to the store provides interest to the store environment."

The Jewel Box also caters to its customers by providing price points to fit every budget. It is able to compete with the Wal-Marts of the world through offering higher end products.

"We have better quality diamonds and we also offer customizing with such things as Canadian diamonds. Or we can tailor for your needs. If you want 18-karat gold instead of 10-karat we can give you that."

Creativity is at the base of her success and the extent of her abilities is reflected in the results of a contest promoted by the prestigious clothing and accessories giant Roots. Participants were asked to suggest names for their new watches to be released for the fall market.

Kathryn looked at it and thought it was "radical". Hence the name. Roots agreed.

But Kathryn and Janet's business isn't so radical though, as much as it is just good business practice.

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The Jewel Box is proud to be a member of these Professsional Organizations

Why Buy From A CJA Jeweller?

We are proud to be a part of an association that demands its members uphold the highest level of integrity, honesty and business ethics. At The Jewel Box we strive to uphold these qualities each and everyday. Whether, we are dealing with customers, employees, fellow entrepreneurs or suppliers.

the jewel box

A SIGN YOU CAN TRUST

The CJA is the Canadian jewellery industry's National Association where its membership:

  • maintains the highest level of personal integrity, honesty and business ethics
  • complies with all government laws and regulations relating to the jewellery industry to support and abide by the CJA's Code of Ethics

CODE OF ETHICS

All members of the Canadian Jewellers Association are entrusted with the responsibility of sale and service of jewellery, watches and related products, and therefore agree:

  • To maintain the highest level of personal integrity, honesty and business ethics
  • To comply with all government laws and regulations relating to the jewellery and watch industry *
  • To support and abide by the regulations, constitution and objectives of the Canadian Jewellers Association and this Code of Ethics
  • To provide a standard of product and service of the highest possible quality commensurate with price
  • To clearly establish the guarantee and/or service policy regarding all merchandise and to fulfill that policy
  • To provide knowledgeable and competent expertise and clearly indicate the true quality of products offered for sale
  • To adhere to sound business practices and thus ensure continuing service to both customers and suppliers alike
  • To refrain from all forms of copyright and trademark infringement

OTHER PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

Retail Council of Canada

The Kirkland Lake and District Chamber of Commerce

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