Talking Shop Bob Scott, Indian Jewelry and Fine Gifts
July 1, 2014
Bob Scott, Bob Scott's Authentic Indian Jewelry and Fine Gifts. 912 Grand Avenue, Grand Lake, Colorado
How long have you been in business? Selling Native American/Indian Crafts and Jewelry in Grand Lake since 1969. At current Location since 2010
How did you get started in this business? All my life, I have had a passion for handcrafted, Indian Jewelry. From my grandparents and parents, I learned about the culture of the Southwest and later developed that through my association with Mrs. Ted L. James, Sr, (Perry James) when I came to work for the Rocky Mountain Park Company in Grand Lake and Rocky Mountain National Park.
Business mission statement: To provide quality, handcrafted Indian jewelry and to educate my customers about the types, origins, sources, and availability of Native Crafts.
How do you feel about direct competition?
“I never worry about competition and instead concentrate my efforts on making my own business the best that it can be.”
Success in the mission Having done much the same thing in Grand County for 45 years, I have enjoyed a level of success in promoting the Native American crafts
Challenges to the mission. There are plenty of imitations, fakes and poor quality items available in today's market.
How do you cope with Grand County's seasonal surges? I am open only in the summer. There is no market for my products during the slow winter months.
What do you think is the biggest business barrier in Grand County? Primarily the seasonal nature of our area, poor and limited advertising, mostly inferior and outdated infrastructure in the county. Dependence on second homeowners to boost economy. So many areas of the county look like a third-world country, especial the entrance and approach to Grand Lake which is never very inviting.
What can government here do to help? In Grand Lake, our local town government has made some significant efforts to identify areas where improvements are needed. New branding has been discussed and implemented and some efforts have been made to increase awareness of our area through advertising.
How does your business give back to the community? From a personal standpoint, I participate in all aspects of the community from volunteering through Rotary Club and by contributing to the various fundraising efforts which take place throughout the year. I serve on The Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre Board of Trustees, which has a large presence as well as a huge economic impact on the community. I am active in the local chamber of commerce.
Give examples of how you are environmentally responsible. I have in the past made efforts to recycle, but at this point, I am not able to be away on Saturdays when recycling takes place. I walk when I can to save gasoline, use energy efficient lighting in my store and have advertising lighting on timers.
How do you support other local businesses? I put out the rack cards for other businesses as well as refer tourists to other businesses. I still do many weddings and I refer brides and their families to local purveyors for photography, catering, music, etc.
How do you feel about direct competition? I never worry about competition and instead concentrate my efforts on making my own business the best that it can be.
How do you market yourself? Through the local paper, rack cards throughout the county, social media, word of mouth, and signs.
What's the main thing you have you learned in your years in business? Personal service and customer service will make a difference. Attention to details and paying attention to the customer's needs.
Where do you go for help when you need it? I have a competent staff and a wonderful business partner. Because special training and experience is so important to what I do, I do not use part-time nor temporary help.
Who is your biggest business influence/mentor? Members of the Ted James Family of Grand Lake and Estes Park have been a major influence on my life and career. Especially the knowledge of Mrs. Perry James who trained me about Indian crafts/jewelry/rugs/pottery, etc. and Mr. T.L. James, Sr., whose business practices I so admired and try to emulate.
What do you think is the most significant economic driver in Grand County? No question that it is our tourist traffic.
What's the best compliment you received from a customer? That I provided information and education about the products I sell. That I went beyond their expectations about the after-purchase services I provide. Also, I have been consistently voted best Gift Shop and Best Jewelry Store in Grand County.
What organization(s) is (are) most useful to business owners? Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce.
How much of a role does technology play in your business? While I hate it… Make that HATE it, the computerizing and bar-coding of my inventory has been beneficial. Coding and keeping up with the inventory has been a great help.
What are the technology challenges in your business? The phone service locally is always a challenge to me as is the computerized cash register.
What's the general key to making a customer happy? Provide a quality product and offer after purchase service/repairs/follow-up.
Is their any certain trend you've noticed in consumer habits lately? Customers are more frugal that in the past, which is a direct result of the economic conditions in our country and the world.
What are some tricks such as signs or window displays that you've noticed work in attracting customers to your front door? I do not use "tricks" to entice customers. I have attractive window displays which reflect good taste and quality merchandise.
What are some ways to keep up staff morale? Kindness and showing appreciation.
What are some ways you train your staff on an ongoing basis? I have a very small staff; but do training and informational literature, field trips to the reservation, in-store discussions regarding merchandising. I ask and respect the opinions of others.
If you could give advice to a novice entrepreneur, what would it be? Be knowledgeable and provide a quality product. Work hard and pay attention to the customer's needs.