Shop Small ILM w/ Perry’s Emporium Jewelry Business – Ep. 6 Fun Conversation with Josh Perry

 Thank you for tuning in to Shop Small ILM, where we showcase locally-owned businesses from the Cape Fear Region. If you like what you hear, please subscribe. Leave us a rating and share with your friends today on Shop Small ILM, we’ve got Josh Perry with Perry’s Emporium Wilmington’s, family owned jeweler with over 1000 star.

Josh, thanks for coming on the show. Hey, Devin, thank you for having me, honor to be here. Well, tell us a little bit about yourself and Yeah. How long have you been in the jewelry industry? Yeah, Devin, actually my dad started this business in 1991. Okay. Opened up in Wilmington in 1991. Before that, he was working in Charlotte with his brothers.

And Perry’s Emporium there. So, okay. Everybody kind of separated. 1991, my uncles opened two different jewelry stores in Charlotte and my dad decided he wanted to raise us kids down here at the beach. So came down to Wilmington, opened up an Independence mall. We stayed in Independence Mall for 10 years or so.

And then in 2000 we rents kind of went through the roof. We tried to find a new place to go and we ended up locating where we are currently in Barclay. Okay. Just south of all fantastic location. We’ve been able to grow into it over the years, so, but yeah, so we, we’ve been in business now for 33 years in Wilmington.

We’ve been in business now for 32 years. In Wilmington. Yeah. Starting in 1991. So, but I started working for my dad in high school. After school, I’d go to the store. I would clean the bathrooms, do odds and end jobs around the store that I need to do to make a little gas money. After I graduated from high school, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do instead of going to college and spending money that.

I didn’t wanna waste, I figured I would try out a lot of different opportunities, so anything from charter fishing, commercial fishing delivering pizzas, washing cars, working in construction. Took a real estate exam and I really ended up back at home, came back and started working for my dad, and I hadn’t looked back since.

Awesome. I always tell people, you should do a lot of jobs as you’re growing up so that you know what you don’t want to do. Oh, absolutely, man. It builds so much character. I think everybody should have to work at least retail one time in their life and in the food service industry one time as well, because you have a whole new respect for people when you have worked that job and been in their shoes.

It’s really, really important. Absolutely. Now, you probably have a lot of people that still shop with. That remember you from the independence location? Oh man, absolutely. One of the coolest things about where we are now at this point is we have a lot of second generation shoppers. People who, you know, their parents bought engagement rings with us and, and got married, and now those kids are coming in saying, Hey, my parents bought their rings here.

I’m looking for a ring. I wanna get married. So, It’s really cool to see how it kind of comes full circle from one family to the next. And we’ve even got some third generation customers coming in where their grandparents had shop with us and their parents, and now he’s kids. So yeah, it’s been really cool to see that come back around.

That’s awesome. I remember the store in Independence, that’s why I was like, yeah. Huh. Oh yeah, man, that story. And so we still have some of the same old cases, you know when we came from the. We wanted to keep that same antique. Mm-hmm. , that state diamond jewelry store that we had there, but just continued to expand and, and have more to offer to our customers.

So we kept a lot of the same cases and we’ve continued to source antique cases from all over the United States just to keep that same vibe of a local family owned. Estate and diamond jeweler. So, yeah. And I was gonna say that is one thing that, that you guys do differently than everybody else is you do a lot of estate jewelry as well as like commissioning custom pieces, right?

Oh, absolutely. Yeah. So you know, when my dad started, he really got his start in estate jewelry. So he would buy gold and jewelry and silver and things from people out of a car outta the trunk of his car, . And then from there he made enough money that he could get a little. And started using the office and then him and his brothers opened up a storefront called Perry’s Emporium in Charlotte.

And that’s just kind of how it all started. So we’ve always stayed true to our roots there and, and. Really focused on buying estates, buying pre-owned pieces of jewelry, things people inherited, they didn’t want broken things, buying gold and silver and coins, antique collectibles, things like that.

So we’ve really made our mark with estate jewelry, but since then, the business has definitely grown and we really came in strong with diamonds and bridal jewelry. Okay. Engagement rings are a huge part of our business. Wedding bands. It’s really expanded from what used to be just a state jewelry to now new pieces, custom pieces.

We have six in-house drillers that do all the repairs in-house. We’ve got a full custom department in-house with 3D printers and growers and if you dream it, we can make it, can try it on and wax before we cast it in-house and all the production happens right there. So it’s really a cool process. , that’s awesome.

Anybody that hasn’t been by there needs to go by there. And you can actually see the jewelers sitting out there. Oh yeah, absolutely. It’s it’s, it’s the highlight of our store. So when we remodeled a couple years ago, we decided we wanted to really bring the transparency of the jewelry store into the publixs eye.

Yeah. So when you walk into the store, as soon as you look to the back wall, you’ll notice there’s a huge bay window. And you can actually sit there and watch my jewelry’s work. probably on your jewelry or your neighbor’s jewelry. Yeah. That’s in there getting fixed while you’re there. So it’s really cool to see all those guys working and it, again, it just brings such transparency to, Hey, everything’s done in house.

Nothing leaves the store. You know, we’re not shipping it out. If you need something same day, we can usually make accommodations for you to have it done same day. But yeah, typical turnaround right now is about a week. Okay. , that’s awesome to have that in-house. And I just enjoy watching ’em. It’s craftsmanship, you know?

Yeah, man, my, my team is so talented. It’s fun just to watch ’em, cuz you never know what they’re working on and, and how they anticipate fixing it. When you look at something and you say, oh, I think I do this, and then you watch him Master Goldsmith and he does something completely different. You’re like, whoa, what’d you do that for?

He’s like, look, this is the right way to do it. This is the best way to do it. And that’s why I put my trust in him. They do a great job. Yeah. So all the fellows can go over there and watch them work on it and, and have something interesting to watch while their wives spend money. Absolutely. Absolutely.

not that that’s ever happened. Oh, for sure, for sure. I, I think I’ve seen you in there a couple times, right? ? Yeah. Now what would you say your biggest brands that you carry are. Devin, great question. So Perry’s has always been kind of the brand. We’ve always focused on us first advertising Perry’s Emporium, the experience.

And then from there we’ve, you know, we’ve acquired some brands that we’ve started carrying, but Perry’s our state jewelry is definitely our number one brand from there. Okay, we go into hearts on fire diamonds. Hearts on fire. Diamonds is the world’s most perfectly cut diamond. So what that means for you as a consumer is that your diamond’s gonna have more sparkle and more fire and more brilliance than any other diamond in the world.

And, and it’s so cool to see these diamonds. So if you’ve never seen a hearts on Fire diamond, I encourage you to come in and check ’em out From Hearts On Fire. We carry Lagos jewelry. It’s a sterling silver fashion line with gold accents, some ceramic pieces. It really is a beautiful line of jewelry and it’s something that can be worn every.

So we love to have the, the high end diamonds, the hearts on fire, and then have the logos, jewelry. That really gives everybody an opportunity to wear a piece of fine jewelry as well. And I could definitely testify to both ends of that spectrum. You know, we bought Brook’s engagement ring and our wedding bands from there.

I regularly get a picture of a new Lagos piece that she would like . So absolutely, we’ve bought a few of those from there. And it is nice to be able to kind of have something that fits the budget for any occasion. So yes, sir. Yes, sir. We try to have something for everybody, for every occasion, and, and Lagos is a great one.

So I know Brooke loves your logos, is, it’s a, it’s a great line. So now speaking of occasion, We’ve got Valentine’s coming up. We sure do. It’ll be here very soon. Yeah. This year we’re, we’re going back to the same promotion we’ve always kind of run with, cuz it works very well for us. We’re gonna give you a box of chocolates card, and then if you spend enough money, you’re gonna get some roses as well.

Check us out online for all the details on that. We’ll definitely have some ads posted for that for you to see. And every purchase comes with a Valentine’s Day card. After you spend $99, you’re gonna get a box of chocolates. 4 99, you get a box of chocolates, a Valentine’s Day card, and a half dozen roses.

Okay? And if you spend 9 99 or more, you’re gonna get a full dozen vase roses with a box of chocolates and a Valentine’s Day card. So we always like to say Perry’s Emporium is the Valentine’s Day headquarters. It’s one-stop shop, so you don’t have to go to the grocery store, you don’t have to go to the drug store, you don’t have to go to the floors.

You can buy it all right there. And it’s a package deal, so it’s always a home. So that saves a ton of time on the morning of Valentine’s. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, we’re open. And this year, Valentine’s happens on Tuesday. So we’re actually open the Monday before we typically closed Sundays and Mondays.

But we will open that Monday just to service all of our Valentine’s customers the day before. And it’s interesting, we, we have to kind of. Schedule Valentine’s around what day of the week it’s gonna fall on. Yeah. So when a holiday like that falls on a Tuesday, most people are gonna wanna celebrate the weekend before.

Yeah. Because Tuesdays might be a work night or a school night or you know, a night where people don’t typically go to a restaurant. We’re making sure that we have all your flowers and your chocolates and everything ready well in advance. So if you decide to, to participate in this you’ll be able to pick ’em up Thursday, Friday and Saturday before Valentine.

Thinking out for the people like me always gotta be ready for you guys. I’m the definitely a Christmas Eve shopper. You know, it’s interesting you say that. I am too. I I’m always about the thrill of the hunt, looking for the, looking for the perfect gift at the last minute and who still has it in stock and where can I get it.

And it’s almost like beating the clock to me. So I love beginning a procrastinator and waiting until the last minute to shop. Yeah. But I have recently figured out that it’s a whole lot. If you shop in advance. Yeah, it is. It makes it a whole lot easier. Things are still in stock. Everybody gets what they want, they’re still happy.

So I would encourage you, if you’re thinking about coming in for Valentine’s Day, don’t be that last minute guy cause it’s gonna be busy and you’re gonna have to wait in line. So get in the head of the crowds and, and get your purchases. Yeah. Come in Friday, Saturday . That’s right. That’s right. Good deal.

So now every jewelry store has tons of stuff for the ladies. , what do you got? Fri gas. Oh, man. Yeah, that’s awesome question. So you know, lately gold chains have been extremely popular. We’ve been selling a lot of yellow gold chains. Okay. So we’ve got a great collection of gold chains for men. We’ve got a lot of men’s fashion rings.

Certainly the largest selection of men’s wedding bands around and, and watches. Man, we’ve got some fantastic pre-owned, high-end time pieces in right now. You shop by the store and check ’em out to see ’em. They go fast. So if you’re curious about a certain watch, you can always reach out to us and see if we have it available for you.

If not, we can try to source it. But we, we do carry some great brands Carry orus watches, which are made in Holstein, Switzerland. Yeah. Over a hundred year old company. Fully automatic watch. Fantastic product. We also carry Cassio, G Shocks, citizen watches, something for everybody, every budget. That’s a lot of fun.

And if you’ve not put on a ORs watch, you have to, oh man, they’re so comfortable. They’re so comfortable. Fantastic timepiece. Last year we also picked up William Henry Studios, which is a company that makes some really, really cool knives. Okay, so all the knives we made with Damascus steel layered blades.

Awesome. Some of the, some of the pieces feature like wooly mammoth. Laid in, inlaid into the handles. There’s some fossilized coral off the coast of Key West. Everything’s one of a kind or limited edition pieces, so really cool collectible knives. They have matching money clips and some necklaces and bracelets that go along with ’em.

So if you’re looking for something to really accent your style, man William Henry Knife shirt looks sharp when it comes outta your pocket. Have to check that out. Yeah, for sure. They’re cool. So now you also have a location in Shalotte that you started in 2021, correct? Yeah, absolutely. You know, we saw an opportunity in Brunswick County, but that county growing the way it was growing and, and real estate the way it was going, we figured, man, now’s the time to go ahead and try it.

So we’d never had two stories before we were, we were kind of nervous about it, but since we opened, There’s been a Starbucks Open and also a Chick-fil-A. Okay. So we really, like, we made the right move. We’re on the map. You know, when, when a town gets the Chick-fil-A and the Starbucks man, you are on the map.

So you’re on the map for school. It’s been a great response down there. Overwhelming, you know, just positive customer influence when they come in. Like, man, we’re so glad you’re here. Yeah, so thankful you guys came down here. We don’t like driving across the bridge. And you know, they don’t wanna shop in Myrtle Beach traffic, so it’s very convenient to have a location there and it’s doing very well.

It’s amazing how many people don’t want to come across the bridge. It’s interesting you say that. I’ve got customers in shopping in the Shalot store that live in Leland. Yeah. And they say, you know what? We just rather drive down 17 all the way to Shalotte to shop with you than come across the bridge and come back to Wilmington.

Yes. So it’s crazy as it sounds, man, Brunswick County, people like to stay in Brunswick County. Yep. And something about that bridge. . It keeps everybody on pins and needles about is it gonna be a wreck? Am I gonna get home late? Is there gonna be traffic? It’s been a, an awesome experience down there in, in Shalot.

Well, you, you grew up here before all of the road work there, so you remember how bad it was getting back and forth. . Yeah. So yeah, man, this man, this county has grown so much. Yeah. And I’m just, I feel fortunate that we’re here and we’re established and getting into float in that market now and getting established there, that really just continues to set us up.

As the company that’s trying to grow and evolve and, and continue to to get better at what we do. So now that we know you have two locations tell us a little bit about your community involvement around the Wilmington area. Yeah, absolutely. So Perry’s and forum’s always been an advocate for giving back.

And so my dad, man, he is a very, very generous man and he loves to dedicate his time to giving back to something bigger than him. Charities are, are something that he’s always been passionate about. Yeah, there’s a couple of big ones that he is always been involved in, but what’s so cool to me about. The way we give back to the community is people will walk in and they’ll say, Hey, we’re having a little fundraiser for this, or we’ve got, you know, somebody that needs some, some help here financially.

We’re having, you know, a charity event for this person or this family. Can you help out? And our goal is to always try to say yes. Always try to donate something that we can give, whether it’s you know, my dad’s time as an auctioneer or a piece of jewelry or a gift card. Some way that we can always try to stay involved because we feel so blessed and fortunate to be where we are with these businesses in this area that we want to give back to the community around us.

That is awesome. Now, I’ve been to quite a few events where Alan was auctioneer. Oh yeah. He’s, he’s fantastic. Yeah. Are you gonna carry that tradition off? So surprisingly, yes. I think so. Awesome. I’ve been, I’ve been toying with the idea of learning how to do an auctioneer chant, just trying to replicate that.

Cause I’ve seen just how much fun he has with it. Yeah. And he gets up in front of a crowd and he is able to, to have fun and do something that really helps and benefits of charity. And, and you know, my dad, he does all this. You know, cuz he loves to do it. He loves to give back. So I think it’d be awesome to, for my brother and I both to learn how to do an auctioneer chant and kind of have a duo thing going where, you know, I’m a spotter and he’s an auctioneer, he’s an auctioneer, and I’m the spotter.

And and just keeping our, our, our faces out in the crowds all around the community. Yeah. So my grandfather has been an auctioneer my whole life. Oh, cool. Yeah. And grew up going to horse sales and stuff like that. And Oh, those are so much fun. Yeah. So I’ve always wanted to learn how to do it too. Yeah, I’ve, I’ve never done it.

You gotta be a fast talker for sure. . Yeah. You know what I would tell you is the interesting thing about why I admire my dad so much is because he’s always faced some adversity Being in this town, right? When we started here in 1991, there were a lot of jewelry stores, well-known jewelry stores, established jewelry stores in this town, and people would come in and say, you’re never gonna make it.

You’ll never make it here. There’s already jewelry stores here, they’re already established jewelry stores here. Yeah. And there’s no way you can be able to compete with these guys and, and you might as well pack up and go back to Charlotte. And my dad just was determined, you know, Hey, this market turns.

Populations change. Yeah. New people are moving here all the time. I don’t wanna go after the customers that are already shopping with the guys that are in business. You know, let them have their, their customers and let everybody needs to eat. Right. I’m gonna go after the new customers. Yeah. New people moving to town.

And over the years he’s continued to do that through this strong advertising passion that he has. And that’s, that’s really what we accredit building this business to. Yeah. It’s, you know, fantastic customer. Being laser focused on an awesome experience, having great quality product at fantastic prices, but really strong advertising in the marketplace.

Yeah, never backing down. You know when when things come up and recessions happen, or people get afraid to advertise and they pull out of the market. , you gotta go in harder. Yeah. Because you can a, you can more buy, you can buy it cheaper cuz nobody else is buying it. And you can really get aggressive.

And when nobody else is on the radio, man, your, your market share just exploded. Yeah. So tv, radio, digital advertising now with the billboards, always trying to stay top of the mind. My dad always says to top of the mind awareness is what he is all about. So, yeah. Yeah, being consistent in advertising has certainly helped.

So as a business owner what kind of adversity have you. , you know, Devin, it’s interesting you ask that question because I always consider what most people would say as a, a problem when they get to work, right? There’s gonna, oh, it’s gonna be a problem every day. Yeah. That’s an opportunity to me every day.

You know, my dad’s always told me that every issue you’re gonna run into, every opportunity that you’re gonna come into in business is gonna be a direct result of management or lack thereof. Whenever we see an opportunity that comes to face and we’re like, oh, you know, what are we gonna do here? How do we solve this?

What most people call a problem, we say, opportunity. We go to our leadership. Because, you know, as goes your leadership team, so does the rest of the business. We’ve got a very strong leadership team in place and we are always, you know, voicing out these opportunities and these concerns that are happening in the store and trying to figure out how to solve it.

And my, my motto is always, if it’s good for the customer, it’s good for the employees and it’s good for the company, it’s good for me to find a solution to any kind of adversity. It’s, it’s gotta be good for the customer. It’s gotta be good for the employees that work for me and it’s gotta be good for the business.

Yeah. So if it meets all three of those, then you know, we. To persevere and move on with a new solution. Yeah. Win, win, win. That’s right. Absolutely. I heard a quote one time, it said it’s like every process is perfectly designed to achieve the results you get. I think about that often when something breaks around here, I’m like, We don’t have it lined out well enough, right?

Yeah. We could have explained this better. If we’d have done this, it wouldn’t have turned out that way. So yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Every issue you have comes back to your management. Or lack, or lack there. I like that. So kind of staying in that same vein there what advice would you have for, you know, an aspiring business?

Well, I mean, to quote one of my famous favorite authors, it would be Simon Sinek. And he says, start with why. Yeah. So if you can get really passionate about why you wanna be in business, and it’s not for the money, right? Money and success, all that stuff is a byproduct of being focused on why you want to start a company.

Yeah. So if you have a passion or, or a, a dream that you wanna achieve, figure out why you want that to. and then never lose focus of the why. Yeah. From there you’ll figure out the why and the why turns into the what and the what turns into the how, and then you’ve got a business. So just constantly staying focused on why you do what you do.

Every single day is gonna allow you the opportunity to become successful. I’m also a firm believer in the phrase that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. So you can interpret talent in a lot of different ways. Talent may be somebody has an established business already, somebody has a better location than you.

They carry. Better brands than you have access to. Maybe their team is more established in your team. Maybe they have more funds to advertise with, maybe they have more wealth or a larger social network of, of opportunities. But at the end of the day, Hard work will beat talent. When talent doesn’t work hard.

And if you show up with a why and a purpose and, and you’re on fire for what you want to do and you continue to stay focused on that, your hard work is going to make sure you’re notice in this marketplace. Absolutely. Very well said. Well, thank you. So we covered your physical locations, but where can everybody find you?

Yeah, absolutely. So you can check us [email protected] You can also check us out on Instagram and on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. We’ve got a social media kind of wrapped up, so, okay. If you’re looking to see what we have available, always check our website and then certainly like us and follow us and, and be sure to share everything that we post on social media.

Yeah, it helps us out and we’ll post all of those in the show notes as well so everybody can find them. Awesome. Well Josh, thank you for coming on the show. Hey, Devin, it’s been a pleasure man. Always a good time talking with you. Thanks for joining us on Shop Small ILM, powered by Salt Air heating ,cooling, and electrical.

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