No wonder people who have been to Estevan’s downtown A&A Jewellery store often admire the refined and very welcoming atmosphere.
With a background in social work, Laurel Buck, who owns and operates the downtown business, knows a lot about people, but she knows not less about the jewellery industry, which was her dream since her young years.
“I just always loved jewellery. And my parents were actually looking into buying a store when I was in high school. And I always said, ‘Oh, you should have done that.’ Because I’d love to work there. So, when the opportunity came up, we just decided to do that,” recalled Buck.
Buck, along with her aunt and uncle bought the business back in 2006, and a couple of years later, her relatives moved back to Alberta to open another jewellery store and she took over.
The jewellery store has always been located at 1226 Fourth Street in Estevan, and for 48 years, it was family-owned and operated. When Buck took over, she continued with the traditions, keeping the spirit but also bringing in variety.
She described the atmosphere in her store as “happy,” and a lot of it is created by the great, "personable" staff.
Being a people-oriented person, Buck finds joy working with customers on a daily basis.
“I love the people. I love interacting with customers. I love selling an engagement ring and having the girl come in and say, ‘Oh, I absolutely loved it!’ I love that,” shared Buck.
But A&A Jewellery is not only about jewellery. The store has a significant collection of giftware and has claimed a reputation as a go-to gift place for every occasion and every budget. Buck said it’s always very special for her to bring in the new gift items.
“I love the buying. The jewellery is fun buying, but the giftware is (my favourite). I love the gift shows.”
A&A Jewellery has a great variety of various giftware that can’t be found anywhere else in town. Buck does a lot of research when trying to find those special pieces that will be of interest to people in the Estevan area. They also watch the trends and know which way the wind will be blowing every new season. And the experience suggests that what’s popular in Toronto or at shows in Vegas may not become a thing in southeast Saskatchewan.
“Sometimes you just keep customers in mind. You have certain customers that keep coming back and they tell you what they like and what they don’t like, so you go with that too,” said Buck.
The flexibility and the ability to sense and understand customers’ preferences helps the business successfully navigate through the storms.
“Trying new things (helps us to be successful). For example, during COVID (lockdown) we did Facebook live sales. It was the first time we ever did it, and we did actually really well,” said Buck.
And while the store is now open to the customers, Facebook live sales were so successful that Buck decided to keep running them every month.
“I think you’ve always got to be trying different things and finding new ways to get your name out there.”
The buying world has temporarily moved online, but Buck believes that as soon as it’s possible the shows will get back to an in-person format, allowing the buyers to see and touch what they will then offer to their customers.
And while the shows are still virtual, the customers can already come into the store, and the A&A Jewellery team always does their best to accustom any wishes.
“We always go the extra mile, we try to take care of everybody,” said Buck. “We just want everybody to come in, see it and leave happy.”
The store offers the jewellery repairs and their goldsmith definitely knows his trade. At this time, they just ask the clients to put their items that need to be fixed in one of the special dishes at the front to be sterilized first. They also offer private engagement ring showings, which can be done after hours.
Not only does A&A Jewellery have great products and services, but they also do their best to ensure that customers get great deals. The rewards cards come with any purchase of $50 or more and give about 10 per cent in points that can be used towards future purchases. They are currently offering discount coupons through the Estevan Mercury's coupon book, and are getting ready for the 25 and 25 and 25 sale. All that while working on bringing in the new collections.