How did you get started in the jewelry business?Our family business began manufacturing jewelry in Providence, Rhode Island. We designed and sold jewelry to Zale's, Gordon's, Macy's and an exclusive line for the Gloria Vanderbilt Collections. In 1981, my father Henry and I opened Henricks Jewelers (Henry + Rick = Henricks) on Bonita Beach Road in an 800 square foot store. With the support of our loyal customers, we expanded into a 12,000 square foot showroom, one of the largest independent jewelers in the country.
Why did you sell Henricks and what happened when you sold?My wife Allison and I always planned on having a large family. So when the six children started getting older, I decided to sell Henricks Jewelers to spend more time with them. The investment group I sold the company to leveraged the business too fast and basically ran the most successful jewelry store in the country out of business.
Why did you open Certified Jewelers?There was such a void when Henricks closed its doors. No matter where I went, people kept asking me to re-open. You know, we had over 50,000 clients who shopped with us. Our reputation was built on customer service and quality jewelry at exceptional value, the same foundation that Certified Jewelers is built on.
Tell us about your Staff.I have without a doubt the most professional staff in the jewelry industry; quality people giving quality service. John Gast is the president of Certified Jewelers and has been with me for over 20 years. Jan Grube started working at Henricks in 1989 and my sales manager Hank Beckman has been with me 15 years. We also have Randy Connell who has been with me 20 years. A veteran staff with knowledge, experience and loyalty. I also have my original master jeweler and designer Keith Rifenburg. He started with me 25 years ago. Keith's specialty is custom design and one-of-a-kind pieces. He has the latest CAD-CAM equipment, which gives him the ability to custom design jewelry as you watch on our big screen TV. We do all of our work on the premises. My daughter Christin and son Ricky are the next generation coming into the family business.
What has business been like since you opened Certified Jewelers?Absolutely fantastic! Our previous customers and all of our new neighbors have made Certified Jewelers so successful that we doubled the size of our showroom our first year in business. We are also in the final planning stages for several other locations to open very soon!
Are people finding your locations?Our locations are perfect. Our Green Tree Plaza store is located at the corner of Immokalee and Airport Road and is within minutes of I-75 or US41. Our new Boulevard Plaza store is located at the entrance of Costco on Naples Blvd. – both locations make the trip from Marco Island or Ft. Myers an easy drive. By the way, there's plenty of parking by the front doors at each location.
You say Certified Jewelers has the "Lowest Prices in the World"?I design, price and buy every item in our inventory. I check our local competition as well as the national retailers and I price our products lower, no matter what our cost is. I have major diamond contracts in India and Antwerp. We buy our diamonds well below New York diamond district middleman prices and, in turn, pass the savings on to our customers. Our intention is the best products at the lowest prices in the world.
Do you buy old or unwanted jewelry? Do you buy gold and diamonds?Yes, in fact we specialize in buying diamonds. We want to buy all diamonds, large or small, any shape. Also, due to the increase in the value of gold, we can pay you more for your gold and gold jewelry.
What do you see in the future?I see us growing with the area, making new friends and providing the lowest jewelry prices in the market. Certified Jewelers will be a lasting icon in Naples that will be synonymous with great service and beautiful jewelry!