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Why Jeweler George Walton Loves The Great White North |  September 25, 2013 (3 comments)


Anchorage, AK—George Walton of George Walton's Gold and Diamond Company, started in jewelry early. "I knew what I wanted to do," said Walton. "No issues about that. I love the business. It's a great business to be in." Initially he was in jewelry on the East Coast. Then in 1969 he moved to the West Coast (California). Then he went to Anchorage in 1975 and soon after decided to relocate there. 

Why was Anchorage so appealing? Part of the answer was simple. "Every major city has an airport," says Walton. So with that vital criteria filled he looked at the next: money/taxes. In Alaska, the tax situation is very tempting. "We don' t have taxes like you do. No state tax or local tax or sales tax. Also, I looked at the marketplace.  The difference in our markets is that our structure has more disposable income." So Walton moved to Alaska and 38 year later is still there.

George Walton's Gold and Diamond Company specializes in the high end of the market. "We can't do everything," he says. "We stay in just the finer merchandise. We use extremely good vendors and we're very pleased with the mix of goods. We have a good mix and you don't change a good formula." Walton's brands include A Link, Bayco, Gumuchian Fils, Hikari, Judith Conway, JB Star, Julius Klein, Louis Newman, Martin Flyer, Mark Patterson, Memoire, Norman Covan, Picchiotti, and Spark Creations. 

Two interior views of George Walton's Gold and Diamond Company. 

Despite Walton's emphasis on the high end, he's still a local jeweler. "We're well established here after being around for so long. We find we are better at second marriages rather than starter ones. We're better at anniversaries and occasions. We're now in our second and third generations of clients."

"We're an oil based economy. We have a great clientele, mostly professionals, doctors, lawyers, oil people, etc." Along with the locals, Walton has clients all over the country, thanks in part to that nearby airport. "Being in Alaska, we see lot of oil company executives. The companies then take that top echelon of executives and move them around and they stay our customers. We go right with them -- or to them."

Above, there's no shortage of customers for Walton's high-end diamond pieces. Below, his love of cars is evident in his displays.

Along with hopping on an airplane as needed, Walton has plenty of clients who call in and ask to have merchandise shipped to them. "If clients ask us to come to them and bring goods, we do that."

Walton says the key to everything is his associates' exceptional customer service. "If you can't meet and go beyond expectations, there's no need for a client to come to you or your store." Walton's staff of seven takes care of customers in the 2,800 square foot store as well as their customers all over the country. He and his seasoned staff have worked together for quite a while.

"The longest employee tenure is 31 years. We're a team. We are used to each other. One of the reasons we don't have a lot of staff is that you have to get along with people and understand them. Everyone has their own expertise with their clientele."

For marketing, Walton uses more traditional methods although his company does do some social media. His traditional methods include national advertising, direct one-on-one contact, a lot of direct mail, and an informational website (no ecommerce) for his customers. "If a client is interested, the website will get them to us. It's where the customer service comes in. A high-end concierge."

Walton embraces the concierge concept; in fact, he and his staff are private jewelers to many clients. "The jeweler goes to the client, the client may not want to go into the store. Men have never been comfortable going into a jewelry store."

Special events are a way of life at George Walton's Gold and Diamond Company. They hold an annual party in November for 500 clients. "It's by invitation only. We're fortunate to have clients who get dressed up to come out and buy jewelry. It's a good kickoff for the Holidays. It puts you in a social situation with your clients and spouse. It gives them an opportunity to play. We have many vendors come in and we do it once sometimes twice a year."

George Walton is always happy to host special events.

Walton attends more than just his own party each year. He's a fixture at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, known as the superbowl of car shows. He partners with Louis Newman there each year. "It's an interesting venue," says Walton. "It's a week of high-end car shows and there is everything for the very high end. Tailgating for billionaires. It's an amazing show and we've been doing it for a long time. It's an expensive show to do but you'll never have that many opportunities for clients of this nature in one place at one time."

Above: Pebble Beach Consours d'Elegance, an event that Walton says is an expensive show to do but well worth the cost to be part of a "tailgating party for millionaires." Below, car collector/famed comedian Jay Leno with Jill Warburton of Walton's staff.

Walton says they have a good spot onsite, given the limited space on the 18th green at Pebble Beach at the lodge where the Concours is held. "It's a once in a lifetime opportunity. You'll see cars that cost 20-30 million dollars. A Ferrari sold this year for $25.5 million. And it's not just a few people bidding in that price range -- it's a room full of people bidding."

Walton wraps up the entire 'selling jewelry to billionnaires at a car show' concept. "Everyone there has the same set of interests. Men love cars. Women love jewelry." Sometimes it's just that simple.

Despite being a self professed "old guy," Walton still runs all over the country and keeps his clients happy and his staff busy. And does his family work in the store? "Not at the moment," he says candidly. "My children think I work too much."




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Comments (3):

George is as genuine as his merchandise.  Being a local Alaskan and a devoted customer of George I can say that no matter who you are or how much you spend, he treats you as if you are his most important customer and even takes the time to say hello in the grocery store.  I won’t go anywhere else.

By Philip Brower on Apr 12th, 2020 at 4:51pm

The most amazing jeweler with the most
fabulous array of gorgeous jewelry in Alaska, if not the West Coast..  My “only”jeweler and friend for just shy of 40 years.  None better with a staff that equals his professionalism, style and service.  They make dreams come true!

By Sally Ann Carey on Jan 10th, 2021 at 6:08am

George Walton was one of my great customers at the restaurant Maxwell’s Plum and 21 Club in New York city for many years. He was a fantastic Human being and extremely generous. I was very sad and surprised to know of his passing. Here I would like to express to George’s Children and family as an unknown person my sentiments and respects for such a painful loss. God has George with Him and He is in a peaceful and Loving place. He will be always on my mind and the eternal pleasure of knowing such simple and giving Man. Love always—Sam.

By Sam Galvao on May 1st, 2021 at 3:33am

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