After nearly 75 years in business, Daniel’s Jewelers is planting a flag on the East Coast.
Daniel’s operates 107 stores in California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, but next year enters Florida with three store openings in the Greater Miami area: Pembroke Lakes Mall, Broward Mall and the Mall at Wellington Green, starting in February.
“The goal would be to fully populate Florida,” David Sherwood, chief executive officer of Daniel’s Jewelers, told WWD, citing Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa and Tallahassee for further expansion, as well as Georgia, specifically Atlanta.
“Miami has long been on our radar as an ideal expansion area for Daniel’s Jewelers. We have three generations of experience in helping families commemorate special occasions in their lives, and more than 50 percent of our jewelry customers are Hispanic. Miami is home to a population that’s overwhelmingly Hispanic or Latino and we very much look forward to becoming an integral part of the community there.”
Over the years, the Culver City, California-based company has developed expertise in merchandising accessible and affordable jewelry meeting the cultural and financial preferences of Hispanic consumers, a demographic that accounts for 19 percent, or 62 million, of the U.S. population.
Bearing in mind the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ian along Florida’s west coast including Fort Myers, Sanibel Island and Naples before moving north and flooding Orlando and other areas, Sherwood said, “Tampa wouldn’t be on our agenda until at the earliest 2024. By then, things will have gotten a lot better.”
Particularly in Florida, “There’s always concern about hurricanes and the toll they take on people,” Sherwood said, though he added that malls — where Daniel’s opens first in communities — are generally in areas less vulnerable to hurricanes, though sometimes they can get flooded or lose power due to natural disasters. When government relief money flows into areas impacted by hurricanes, it’s spent on immediate needs like food and clothing, though Sherwood said jewelry can also be a beneficiary.
When entering new markets, “We usually start with major malls because that’s where you get the most amount of traffic for your punch, and generally later fill in around them,” with additional shops in power centers or street locations, Sherwood said.
“Our focus is on the Hispanic customer. By far, it’s the fastest-growing demographic in the U.S. We continue to push stores where we know we fit in well,” said Sherwood, adding that the vast majority of the company’s store managers are fluent in Spanish and nearly every associate speaks a second language.
Daniel’s Jewelers’ prices range from $10 to $50,000 in a wide variety of styles and an emphasis on religious jewelry and jewelry for babies. There’s complimentary ring cleaning; personalized credit options to customize financing regardless of credit history, and a lifetime trade-in program so shoppers can get the full value of whatever they paid for an item when they choose to trade up. Ear piercing is also offered. With young children, ear piercing is often a family event among Hispanics, Sherwood noted.
Stores are located in mainstream, traditional malls typically anchored by Dillard’s, Penney’s and Macy’s, and not in “A” malls anchored by Neiman Marcus or Saks Fifth Avenue. “We are not looking to be in a mall where there is a Chanel or a Tiffany,” Sherwood said.
He’s the third generation family member to run Daniel’s. The business was launched in 1948 after Sherwood’s grandfather bought a bankrupt jewelry store in Bell Gardens, just east of Los Angeles, California, called Daniel’s, by mortgaging his house and borrowing money. According to Sherwood, his grandfather kept the Daniel’s sign on the storefront because he couldn’t afford a new sign, and the name has stuck ever since.
“Grandma ran the office, managed the home, and watched after my father and my uncle. Grandpa sold jewelry, giftware and, yes, even socket wrench sets. He also carried his own in-house credit, to allow his customers to be able to buy the jewelry they wanted with convenient terms.…Most of the original customers were migrants fleeing the dust storms in the Midwest,” Sherwood said.
He said the company is on a pace to open three to five stores a year, and generates about $150 million in annual volume. Bestsellers lately are lab-grown diamonds, pre-owned Rolex watches, and heavy gold chains, which he said have been spurred by influential music and sports celebrities.
“We’ve been growing aggressively over last five years. In 2016, we had 60 stores. Now we have 107,” Sherwood said. “The biggest challenge to growth is having the right people. Jewelry does not sell itself. It’s a complicated sale.”