I was in a jewelry store the other day in Fort Worth, Texas. Fort Worth has become our new office location. As I talked with the jeweler, he told me that had been a jeweler for almost 40 years, in both big chain stores as well as small town stores.
As we talked, this jeweler told me that that in the mid 1980’s, he owned a jewelery store in Eastern New Mexico. If you don’t know, Eastern New Mexico, in the 1980’s was a very prosperous area for oil drilling. The jeweler told me that his store was right in the middle of the oil boom. This particular jeweler had been with a large national chain prior to opening up his own business. The oil business has a pattern of bust and boom. A few years of boom are followed by many years of bust. That was the case here. The jeweler said that his first couple years of business were very successful, however, the next 3 were horrible, to the point where he had to go out of business. The jeweler told me that he was under capitalized, however, when things were good, they were real good and he thought that he could sustain the lower sales periods without additional capital. Unfortunately, that was not the case and he had to close down.
The jeweler told me that 30 years ago, in West Texas and Eastern New Mexico, your word was your bond. He told me that his inventory was placed on a “handshake”, with no credit flooring or anything else. If you said you were good for it, you were assumed to be good for it and the vendors were willing to send you the merchandise to sell, with payments to be made following the sale of the merchandise.
When the jewelry store closed, the jeweler told me that he did not have enough money to pay off all of the remaining inventory. Vendors did not want the merchandise back– he was stuck with it. The jeweler told me that it took him 8 years to pay off all of the vendors for the jewelery that he had acquired, however, not one vendor got “stuck” by this individual.
In a prior post, we talked about integrity in business. In this instance, this individuals integrity ensured that all vendors finally got paid. Think about what you would do if you were in this situation. Would you pay all of the vendors off? Would you file bankruptcy? Would you have the vendors take you to court to seek what you owe them? There is no right answer. Each individual has to answer this question personally. However, for the jeweler I met, he elected to pay off his debt. Yes, it took a while, however, it all got paid! Something to think about!