Grand Opening for The Wine Bar @ K.Hollis Jewelers
The Wine Bar @ K.Hollis Jewelers will officially open during a special grand opening event on Friday October 9th from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm at 147 S. Randall Road in Batavia. Join us for half-price wine, delicious appetizers from Gaetano’s, music by Classical Blast, raffles, and great company.
The idea of a wine bar inside a jewelry store came to owners Rob & Karen Hollis because they have been hosting special events at K.Hollis Jewelers for years and felt that adding a wine bar fit perfectly with their vision for the kind of shopping experience they want to provide for their customers.
“Creating a warm and welcoming place where our customers feel at home has been a core principle for us from the beginning”, said owner, Rob Hollis, “and with over 4,000 square feet of space we became a comfortable and unique place for networking groups, clubs, and non-profit organizations to gather. Many of the groups that want to host events at the store want to serve wine, but we found we had an issue. We weren’t licensed to serve liquor and there was not an existing liquor license classification that fit our circumstances. We approached the city and asked them to consider creating a new liquor license classification that would allow us to serve wine at a retail location. The city was open to the idea and extremely accommodating. We are now able to serve wine to our customers throughout the day while shopping or during special events.”
The Hollis’s designed a fabulous wine bar with the help of Cruver Creations and Windmill Countertops and commissioned local artist, Jim Jenkins, to create a one-of-a-kind light for above the bar. According to Karen Hollis, “Everything exceeded our expectations and we now have a fabulous gathering place inside the store. We’ve hand-picked a great selection of wines and have already hosted several wonderful events. We hope the wine bar becomes a community gathering place where people relax, socialize, shop, and connect.”
Current plans for The Wine Bar @ K.Hollis includes Sip & Shop Wednesdays featuring half price wine from 5-7pm, The Friday Social Club every Friday from 5-7pm, and is available for private events on Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays.
To schedule an event at The Wine Bar @ K.Hollis Jewelers contactLinda Schielke 630.879.8003 or www.khollisjewelers.com/host-an-event/
20 Nov Super Jewelers
Written by Trace Shelton
Madame Mental Image
Karen Hollis Owner
BASE OF OPERATIONS
K. Hollis Jewelers Batavia, IL
Sometimes, a customer wants a redesign, but she doesn't have the ability to articulate exactly what she wants. With a clairvoyance that rivals that of any mutant mind-reader, Karen Hollis can see the finished product once she has laid hands on the piece she is redesigning. After, it's only a matter of helping the customer to see the future.
"I would say my custom-design appointments take less than 15 minutes on average," says Hollis. But it wasn't always this way. In the beginning, Hollis was hesitant to trust her ESP-like skills. "I would throw a lot of ideas at the client. But I learned to shut my mouth when they loved the first idea."
Perhaps Hollis' master's degree in counseling and her inherent empathy have augmented her mind powers. "We do a lot of counseling here," she says. "I started a 'freedom ring' collection for divorcees. We had a recently-divorced woman who came in and dumped all of her jewelry on my desk and said, 'I have all this jewelry; what can you do with it?' I made her a freedom ring and she walked out feeling like a million bucks."
While we mere mortals might be surprised at how quickly Hollis can visualize exactly what the client wants, she's never fazed. "It happens so often, it doesn't shock me anymore. I try not to act surprised."
03 Nov Let Freedom Rings Ring
Written by Trace Shelton
Karen Hollis of K. Hollis Jewelers in Batavia, IL had a recent divorcee approach her with her old jewelry asking, “What can you do with this?” And Karen had a flash: What if she made the woman a ring to celebrate her new found freedom? “I made her a ‘freedom ring,’” says Karen, “And she walked out feeling like a million bucks.” Today, K. Hollis has turned “freedom rings” into a new category of jewelry for their store.
The genius of this concept is pretty obvious. First, as everyone understands, going through a divorce is hard, no matter how bad the marriage has gotten. It’s not easy to be alone again. This ring turns the negativity of the situation into a positive, celebrating the opportunities of the future. Second, it allows customers to do something with the jewelry that only holds bad memories for them – and not just to do something, but to do something that has new meaning. Third, of course, it fortifies the bond between client and jeweler, putting the jeweler on “the client’s side.” In short, as much as any jeweler hopes the best for their customers’ marriages, if they do wind up divorcing, you have a chance to further solidify your relationship with them.
American Express Small Business
October 28, 2014
In addition to maintaining community character, small businesses offer an economic advantage to their towns that big businesses can't beat.
Major corporations have changed the dynamic of shopping in the United States over the past few decades, with many big-box stores driving out small, local retailers by undercutting their prices and building mammoth operations. But in cities and towns all across America, locally owned businesses are finally making a comeback—and it's making a difference.
Local businesses are known to have a “multiplier effect” on their communities—the idea that every dollar spent at a local, independently owned business stays in the community and generates a far greater economic value by creating jobs and more localized spending. But it’s not just about the economy: Research shows that vibrant local business communities lead to more charitable giving in a community, more walkable neighborhoods with unique character and less pollution.
As Small Business Saturday approaches on November 29, it’s a good time to remember the tremendous value that locally owned businesses provide their communities. Small Business Saturday is an annual event that recognizes the impact local, independently owned businesses have and encourages consumers to spend their money at them.
“It truly is the celebratory kickoff to the holiday season for small businesses,” says Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, founder of Retail Minded, a company that consults with and provides resources to independent retailers. “But it’s not just about the small businesses celebrating themselves; it’s about customers celebrating those local small businesses that they love.”
Why Support Local Businesses?
More than two dozen studies have looked at the value that small businesses bring to their local communities, says Michael H. Shuman, an economist and author who specializes in community economics.
“Every single one of them shows that every single dollar spent at a local business leads to two to four times the amount of jobs, income and wealth, tax collections, and charitable contributions,” Shuman says. “There’s no magic to it—it’s basic economics that companies that are local have more local relationships, and that’s what creates this disproportionate positive effect.”
For example, a 2012 study by Civic Economics, a company that analyzes the impact of buying local, found that the locally owned independent retailers in the study returned 52 percent of their revenue to the local economy, compared to just 13.6 percent by national chain retailers.
Beyond the direct economic effects of shopping local, Shuman says communities with many locally owned businesses are generally more shielded against economic distress because they're better diversified across a wide range of businesses—such as retailers that are focused on selling various types of goods and service businesses that might provide everything from pet grooming or accounting to housecleaning.
Strong, walkable local business communities also lead to more tourism and “smart growth,” Shuman adds, by encouraging people to visit and live in towns where they can easily walk instead of drive to local businesses. Studies have also found that local businesses are more likely to adhere to new local environmental regulations, while large companies often “flee,” Shuman notes.
Jef Buehler, director of Main Street New Jersey, a state-run program that helps towns in New Jersey revitalize and build strong local business communities, says independently owned businesses offer a distinct character and “flavor” that major chains cannot. “In terms of maintaining community character and keeping a sense of place," Buehler says, "you cannot beat small, independent businesses.”
Moreover, local businesses bring their local economy far more revenue than national chains based in Anywhere, U.S.A. “From an economic standpoint—and the statistics are widely researched in this regard—70 percent of more of sales at a national corporate retailer leave that community and go back to its national headquarters,” Buehler says. “In terms of local businesses, the opposite is true: Three-quarters or more of the money that is made locally stays local and is recycled back into the community.”
While statistics offer one side of the story, it’s the real-life experiences of local business owners that show the true, positive impact that locally owned businesses can have on their communities. We spoke with several small-business owners across the nation about how they’ve created thriving local businesses and become cornerstones of their community.
In 2002, Karen Hollis took a year-long break from her job as a special-education teacher and started designing jewelry from home using beads she bought online. Within a year of selling that jewelry from home, she realized she had a viable business model: “I was selling bracelets off my wrist,” she says.
So Hollis and her husband, Rob, decided to rent retail space in a local shopping center in Batavia, Illinois. The store, K.Hollis Jewelers, was recently named the best jewelry store in Chicago’s western suburbs by the Daily Herald’s Readers’ Choice awards and surpassed $1 million in annual revenue for the first time in 2013.
The shop has stayed prosperous by creating a laid-back, friendly atmosphere and offering merchandise and services that other jewelry retailers in the area don’t, Hollis says. For example, the store focuses on helping shoppers create custom jewelry from stones or family heirlooms they already have that may just be “sitting in a box in their closet,” Hollis says. Moreover, the store also offers jewelry repair that consumers can’t get at big-box retailers.
Two years ago, the store, which has 16 employees, expanded from an 1,800-square-foot space to a 4,100-square-feet shop in the same center.
As local business owners, the Hollis's are strong community boosters and active in many local organizations—something large retailers in the area generally aren’t. Rob is a former president of the local chamber of commerce and served on the local Batavia economic development board. The couple also gives money to and helps fundraise for local charities, including Tri-City Family Services and the LivingWell Cancer Resource Center.
“I think it’s about that personal touch and being part of our community,” Hollis says. “Everyone knows everyone else here, and they’re greeted with a hug.”
Dressed for Success
Third-generation business owner Steve Ashworth has taken his family’s small, men's clothing business, Ashworth’s Clothing, and turned it into a small-town destination. Ashworth’s, in the downtown area of Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, offers the charm of an old-school menswear store with some modern twists.
The store, which opened in 1937, has a humidor, which offers customers the ability to take a break from shopping, smoke cigars and chat, Ashworth says. But the store also hosts seasonal trunk shows and brings in trendy brands and designers to offer a selection of "what's hot now" clothing. While Ashworth’s still mostly sells men’s clothing, it has expanded and now offers some clothing for women, too.
“After 78 years, we’ve had a lot of families come through our business,” Ashworth says. “Everybody in town knows us.”
The secret to running a successful local business like Ashworth’s is offering above-and-beyond customer service. Recently, Ashworth says, a regular customer, who works about 20 miles away in Raleigh, called in the middle of a workday to say he needed a particular pair of dress shoes within the next few hours. The only trouble was, he couldn't get away to shop at the store. So an Ashworth’s employee drove up to Raleigh and hand-delivered the shoes he'd ordered to ensure they arrived on time.
“We probably didn’t come out ahead on that pair of shoes," Ashworth says, "but it’s about the big picture. You have a lot of pride when you do something like that for a customer."
Not Just Child's Play
Several years ago, after gauging interest by adding toys to the product mix at her stationery and gift store in Hammonton, New Jersey, Kelly Donio decided to turn Simply Stationery into an independent toy store, which she renamed Toy Market. The 3,500-square-foot store—which markets itself as “South Jersey’s largest independent toy store”—offers a broad mix of toys not sold by such major chains as Toys R Us or Target. Thanks to strong sales over the past year, the store will soon be expanding to a much larger space in downtown Hammonton.
“We’ve found there's a niche for us,” says Jim Donio, Kelly's husband, who helps manage the store. “People are still looking for that hands-on interactive toy and puzzle store.”
The Donios have taken many steps to stay competitive with the big-box chains beyond just offering a diverse product selection. They train their small sales staff to ask the right questions when shoppers walk into the store. (“How old is the little one you’re shopping for today?”) They keep long hours—staying open seven days a week and until 9 p.m. on most nights—to be convenient to working parents. They also try to help educate their shoppers on buying inspiring toys—“not just disposable toys,” Jim says—geared toward childhood development and longtime use.
By offering shoppers long hours along with a well-trained and informed staff, Toy Market can give its customers the ultimate toy-shopping experience. To entice new business, the store hosts various events for kids and parents throughout the year.
The Donios' long-term plans include opening new stores throughout New Jersey in the coming years, with a particular focus on towns that attract tourists and have a strong downtown business community.
“We’re always adapting and evolving,” Donio says. “In a nutshell, what we believe is, we’re not just selling toys. Our core value is that we can be a resource for parents and grandparents.”