A small business owner on surviving in an online shopping world

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – These days many turn to online retailers before going out to see what smaller, local stores have to offer. However, one business owner said that his jewelry store has been successful despite the internet’s prominence.

One of Spencer & Kuehn Fine Jewelry Studio’s owners, John Kuehn, said his store is performing 10-15 percent better this December than it did last year.

Kuehn said he thinks the reason is that they made a switch a year and a half ago from being a normal jewelry store to a studio, where they design jewelry in-house rather than just selling it.

They’ve had to adapt because modern shoppers, he said, expect variety when shopping and want to be able to return the items and have more options.

“It’s changed the way people shop and we offer something that can’t be had on the internet because we take your old goal and melt it down and we sit down with you and design something totally new,” Kuehn said. “So we offer a unique service and we’re doing great.”

Businesses, like conventional jewelry stores, will have to adapt to meet modern needs and tastes Kuehn said. He said on of the main reasons many jewelry retailers struggle is because of younger generations like Millenials and Generation Z who tend to marry later or not at all and not be as attracted to jewelry as older generations.

However, with their personalized business model, where they can work with gold, silver, platinum, and gems, younger generations are more likely to come by.

“We’re still making things for Gen Z like a ring that has a symbolic meaning to it and it’s very small,” Kuehn said. “They like dainty and small, we’re finding out where to be and we’re artists, we come up with new concepts and it’s different.”

He said he’s looking forward to the coming months because the economy is doing great and that he hopes the store will hopefully continue to grow and evolve to meet the needs of young people and other customers.

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