By Jim Szymanski, Director of Communications
Retailers who stick to their core values while evolving with changing times have the best chance to grow over the long haul, the President/Chief Operating Officer of Ben Bridge Jeweler told an audience of nearly 200 Wednesday at Olympia’s Capital Mall.
Lisa Bridge is a fifth-generation leader of the 106-year-old company with roots in Seattle. Today, the company operates in 11 Western states in addition to five stores in British Columbia. Her address, hosted at center court in Capital Mall was a first-ever partnership between Washington Retail Association and the Thurston County Chamber as part of the Careers in Retail Month celebration.
While reviewing her company’s history, Bridge explained the core values upon which the jeweler has grown and thrived: hire talented employees, empower them with a sense of ownership, extend them your trust and involve the business in its surrounding community whether it be charitable contributions, sponsorships and the like. Ultimately, the employees make Ben Bridge Jeweler the success it has been, Bridge said.
“If you hire the right people, they’ll go out and grow the business,” she said. “We believe in our people and treat them with respect.”
Bridge also spoke about the new marketing campaign Ben Bridge – For Life. Rather than a focus on the stereotype connecting fine jewelry to a ring given at a marriage proposal, the message focuses on the moments and special times that follow.
“What jewelry is about is really every moment after that,” she said, as owners reflect on the life experiences they’ve shared with a ring or watch, and the memories to be appreciated and shared.
WRA President/CEO Renée Sunde introduced Bridge after reviewing the retail industry’s impact on the state economy including generating 51 percent of the state’s general operating fund derived from sales taxes.
Our partner in Careers in Retail Month, Employment Security, also released a video featuring Sunde who talks about how her retail experience helped to shape her professional career. Watch it here.