Valentine’s Day shoppers looking for that glittery gift need to go no further than in Southold, where owner Robert Scott specializes in high-quality fine jewelry.
After working at two Riverhead jewelers for 10 years, Scott said he knew it was time for him to start his own business and do things his way. Robert’s Jewelers first opened its doors on June 10, 1985 in a small location in Southold down the street from its current location in Feather Hill, which opened its doors on June 10, 1994.
Scott had a clear vision as to the kind of business he wanted to operate from the start.
“I wanted to be a fine jeweler and I didn’t want to carry flea market merchandise,” Scott said.
From the beginning, Scott emphasized quality over less expensive or mass-produced merchandise. He said he carried items that were more expensive because he was giving customers more for their money. This philosophy was hard for the first five years because customers were not ready for this philosophy yet. But as he had repeat customers for repairs on jewelry they bought elsewhere, they began to realize higher quality products do not need repairs as often.
His customer service philosophy carries over through his life and has helped him succeed for more than 30 years.
“I’m number two. Everyone else is number one,” he said.
Scott said his employees go through extensive training, not in sales, but in what jewelry is and how it is made. He enjoys helping customers find the right piece, and as a result, he personally no longer does repairs so he can spend more time with customers. Scott also does not personally appraise jewelry because he feels it would be a conflict of interest. He does have someone come in to do repairs weekly and can get an appraiser to look a piece
He said his ideology boils down to three things: truth, justice and the American way. In fact, in 2006 he personally made the trip to South Africa to ensure his vendors were living up to provisions in the Patriot Act and that he was not buying so called “blood diamonds.”
“It’s so much easier to do things right,” he said.
In his office he has a camera rigged onto a microscope, hooked up to a video screen so customers can see their pieces up close. If a piece is dropped off for repair, Scott will use this technology to take a picture of the piece and go over the any marks or inclusions with the customer before he takes the piece in. When the customer comes back to pick up the piece, he does it again to ensure what they dropped off is what they are picking up. If a potential client refuses this service, he will not accept the business. According to Scott, this process has further established his reputation in the industry.
Robert’s Jewelers will be open daily through Valentine’s Day starting at 9:30 a.m.