Bill Rosenfeld attributes the success of his business, Rosenfeld Jewelry, in part to relationships he has built in the community. “People know us, they trust us and they refer their friends to us. It’s a slow way to build a business, but a good reputation is the best marketing tool you can have,” he said.
Rosenfeld’s commitment to “stay active in and be generous to the community” also is among the reasons his business was chosen as this year’s Tucker Business of the Year by the Tucker Business Association and that he was this year’s Rotarian of the Year. In addition to being a past president of the Stone Mountain Rotary Club, he is active in the DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Development Center and other organizations.
A former firefighter and paramedic, Rosenfeld became interested in the jewelry business after a close friend who was in the business suggested that he would be good at it. He learned more about it through jobs at such places as the now defunct Service Merchandise. Then he went to gemology school.
The basics of the jewelry business haven’t changed in thousands of years, Rosenfeld said. Once you learn them, it’s a matter of whether one has talent in the area. “Apparently, I have talent,” he said. “This has worked out well for me.”
In 1982, Rosenfeld opened his own store on Memorial Drive. When the building in Tucker that now houses his business became available in 2004, he bought it.
He said that maintaining a staff that not only is professional but pleasant to work with is another key to the business’ success. Most are Gemological Institute of America certified. “Among us, we have more than 100 years of experience in the jewelry business,” Rosenfeld said.
Rosenfeld said that his showroom on Lavista Road is a friendly place where customers and staff often share a laugh. “I don’t remember the last time we had an unhappy customer,” he said. “Of course, you can’t please everyone, but if we find we can’t provide a customer with what he or she needs, we’re happy to refer them to someone else. We want everyone to have a good experience here.”
The trust and goodwill of customers is more important than the opportunity to make a few extra dollars, he said. “A customer might bring a piece in for a repair that he’s prepared to pay for, but if we find that it’s still under warranty, we can delight the person by telling him that the piece will be repaired at no charge.” His policy, he said, is “honest customer care first.”
While Rosenfeld said that like nearly every business, his has been affected by the struggling economy, it helps that Rosenfeld Jewelry is diversified. About half the business is retail, but the other half involves repairing jewelry and creating custom pieces for individuals and other retailers, some outside the state.
While basics of the business go back thousands of years, jewelry design and repair as it is done at Rosenfeld’s is state of the art, using a sophisticated computer program. Repairs, pearl stringing, appraisals, engraving and castings are done on the premises. Essentially anything the customer envisions can be designed and built through a multi-step process that allows the customer at every stage to confirm that the piece being built is indeed what he had in mind.
“The piece is built around the stones, whether they are stones the customer owns or ones he buys from us,” explained Rosenfeld, who takes frequent trips to Antwerp, Belgium, the diamond capital of the world, to personally select gems for his customers.
Rosenfeld acknowledged that there are many good jewelers in the Atlanta area but added that he’s not afraid of competition. “Competition is good. It keeps you on your toes,” he said.