It is a truth universally acknowledged by those in the retail business that there is battle for business between buying local and shopping online. And while some buyers may lean to purchase online, that may work out when it’s early in early December, it’s now crunch time.
“Nobody likes the situation where you order something online and it ends up being the wrong size, or they got a timepiece and it wasn’t sized correctly, so now they have to find a jeweler who will remove the links on a piece that was purchased someplace else,” said Windsor Jewelers’ Shane Thompson. “Or maybe it didn’t arrive, so you’re at that dreaded point where you’ve got to go to the computer, find the best photo you can, print it out and put it in a card. Everybody’s done that at least once.”
Shoppers don’t have to resort to such measures, however, especially when choices at Windsor Fine Jewelers, Friedman’s Jewelers and Southeastern Armory abound.
Windsor, of course, carries a wide array of designer jewelry for both men and women, as well as Pandora items, fashion jewelry lines in a variety of materials, men’s gift items like pens and money clips, estate jewelry, Arthur Court tableware, porcelain figurines and more.
“To our benefit, and our detriment, we have a lot of inventory. I believe my dad (Windsor owner Donnie Thompson) would say that you could take everything out of the store and refill the showcases with what we have underneath. So as soon as we pull some pieces out we can refill them,” Shane explained. “Even on Christmas Eve. If you’ve been card hunting on Valentine’s Day, you know that you get there are there are only three different cards left. It’s not like that here. There’s no limited inventory, and we still have a bundle of choices. And it’s not just jewelry.”
“That’s the difference between us and any other jewelry store,” Donnie Thompson told the Metro Spirit in November. “You can go in all the jewelry stores in the CSRA, and all of them combined won’t even get close to the kind of inventory we have here. And I mean, in the state of Georgia, there’s no place. South Carolina, North Carolina — there’s no place that’s got the selection we’ve got.”
Just down the street from Windsor is Friedman’s Jewelers, and the Thompsons’ sister store specializing in estate jewelry and other hard to find items boasts an inventory that rivals the original.
Vintage bridal sets, fashion pieces with diamonds, precious and semi-precious gemstones, pre-owned Rolexes and Tag Heuers fill the cases of two big showrooms, and many pieces are arranged in cases by price. So while Windsor specializes in well-known designer names, Friedman’s has cornered the market on the unique.
“Typically what you’ll find, along with being unique, is a price drop,” explained Friedman Jewelry Division Manager Rick Wortley. “So you can come in and find a beautiful estate piece at a much better price than you can buy new anywhere else. What you’ll find is something unique, priced right, high quality, with a warranty.”
Wortley estimates that Friedman’s carries thousands of pieces priced at $100 and under, so it may be the perfect place to get a special first piece of jewelry for a pre-teen or teenaged family member.
Friedman’s also has a large selection of men’s timepieces, with Luminox being an especially popular brand, as well as one-of-a-kind pieces like model ships and airplanes and more.
A step through the doorway to Southeastern Armory, however, is all it will take to find a gift for the man in your life. An outdoorsman’s paradise located inside Friedman’s Jewelers, Southeastern Armory has a vast selection of firearms and accessories, ammunition, gun safes, specialty knives, emergency food, sunglasses, Yeti products, Nexbelts and more.
Those who may have no interest in these kinds of activities, but still need to find a gift for someone in their family who does, can rest easy knowing that Southeastern Armory’s knowledgeable salespeople are available to help you figure things out no matter how busy they are.
“It can be intimidating,” admitted Southeastern Armory General Manager Jason Hawes, “but we’re all professional, friendly, down-to-earth people who just try to help people figure it out. We just talk to them.”
And if all else fails, Yeti products, an especially handy Wise Car Prep Kit including jumper cables, blankets, food and more for $80, or a gift certificate will always be a welcome addition under the tree.
In fact, since half the fun of visiting Windsor and Friedman’s is trying on different pieces and picking out what works best, they offer gift certificates as well. After all, someone may ask for a particular piece of jewelry, but find after trying pieces on that something else looks much better.
“Yes, it can be overwhelming,” Shane said, “but it’s supposed to be fun and it’s supposed to be something you get excited about.”
For those who just have to present their significant other with that green box with a special piece inside, Windsor is happy to help and will making shopping fun for those who bring kids with them. Santa and Mrs. Claus have been making appearances in the store, as have Olaf and Anna from Disney’s “Frozen.”
And even though it too late to order online from other places, Windsor even has those customers covered.
“We have a lot of local people who purchase online with us, in some cases we’ve gone and delivered pieces to somebody’s house,” Shane said. That will make for a very Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukah, all wrapped up in a little green box.