Pan for gold in Houston, and Improvement for a jewelry store from a burger joint

Pine Forest Jewelry store already exists on Uvalde in Northeast Houston, but they will have an added event within the next year. Customers will be able to have an experience they will never forget, panning for gold.  We want to make Pineforest Jewelry in Houston a WOW Experience for every person who enters, said the owner, Diamond Jim Mills, We are building a new store presently…11,500 sf…with the idea of giving each customer an experience he or she will never forget! We are set to open a year from now. 25′ gold miner outside, panning for gold from a stream flowing from the top of the two-story building, with a two-story mine entrance of timbers… videos and displays on everything from gold and diamond mining to pearl farming… and more to come as we progress…

I discovered this article in JCK magazine about making improvements in a jewelry store from an unusual source, a fast food restaurant in Tennessee and Virginia. The restaurant is called Pal’s.  Regardless of day or time, a line of cars curled onto the road. The windows and landscaping looked immaculate. Orders are filled correctly, and the staff—most of them hourly employees or teens with no interest in a food service career—served him with warmth and attentiveness. And Diamond Jim Mills answered the article by telling about the future happenings at his store in Northeast Houston.

“How do they do it?” Jordan, owner of Dempsey’s jewelers wondered about Pal’s Sudden Service, a 1950s-style hamburger joint with 29 locations scattered across northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia.

As co-owner of Dempsey’s Jewelers in Johnson City, Tenn., Jordan constantly hunted for ways to advance his family’s 26-year-old retail store. Located amid more than a dozen local jewelry shops, and facing the challenges of running a small business, Jordan drew a direct line from continuous improvement to long-term sustainability.

In Pal’s, Jordan found inspiration and actionable pathways to progress. One, of course, could question how a restaurant that serves burgers, fries, and shakes could possibly inspire a jewelry store looking for improvements. After all, Dempsey’s sold custom jewelry, brands such as Le Vian, and Simon G.  But Pal’s isn’t just any restaurant operation. In fact, the chain is one of only about 100 recipients of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, bestowed by the U.S. Department of Commerce upon businesses that exhibit performance excellence. So with those credentials, it is not hard to imagine why Jordan turned to this restaurant for inspiration.

That honor spurred Pal’s, a family-owned company with an interest in paying it forward, to create the Pal’s Business Excellence Institute (BEI). For the past 18 years, the nonprofit educational center, located in Kingsport, Tenn., has shared the drivers of Pal’s success with a diverse array of ­entities ranging from healthcare systems and hotels to school districts, government agencies, and retailers while championing one core message: The more extraordinary a business gets, the easier it becomes to manage that business, build loyalty, and boost performance. “When you do the basic things extraordinarily well, your customers can count on you—and it will show in the ­results,” says Pal’s BEI vice president David Jones, adding that BEI graduates report improvements of 25 to 300 percent in sales and profits after integrating Pal’s key lessons into their own operations.

In a nutshell this is what businesses put into practice at their own stores.
“Our people know what’s expected of them, and that’s why Pal’s has four times the repeat business of its national competitors.” Upon returning to Dempsey’s, Chris Jordan worked to “design out the gray.” He and his father crafted formal store policies and guidelines for customer interactions, then personally reviewed those details with each staff member. “Everything today is more black-and-white,” Jordan says of employee expectations. “If we’re not precisely clear about the culture we’re trying to create, how will our staff ever know and buy in?”

Driving out waste, minding the details, and investing in the right team. Morale has gone up and Dempsey’s is considering sending each employee to BEI classes. No matter how long you have been in business, there are ways to improve.

And this article is how I found out about panning for gold at Pine Forest Jewelry Store.

Courtesy JCK Magazine

By Daniel P. Smith