To the ancient Greeks, Pandora was the first woman, as well as the first to say, “I can’t wait to open that box!”
Joshua Koerber, owner of the Pandora of Louisville jewelry store in Mall St. Matthews, knows that nothing today sparks such eager anticipation as a jewelry box that conceals beautiful gems in shimmering settings.
Koerber grew up in the retail jewelry business by assisting his parents, Michael and Felecia Koerber, at Koerber’s Fine Jewelry in New Albany. At 23, he moved to Southern California to study at the Gemological Institute of America, and then worked for a jewelry designer in Malibu.
“It was fantastic – surfing every day,” he said. “It’s a very relaxed atmosphere out there: I once sold a $90,000 piece over the phone while wearing a T-shirt, board shorts and flip-flops. I miss the weather, but not the traffic. And I missed the hospitality of the people in my hometown.”
Being in charge of a nine-state territory and working for jewelry stores with annual sales of more than $20 million taught him all facets of the jewelry industry. When he returned to Kentuckiana, he brought an understanding of “how the best do business” and was eager to have a store of his own.
That opportunity came just over a year ago, when he opened Pandora of Louisville. The parent company, based in Denmark, entered the American market in 2003 with a wide range of items that are handmade and affordably priced.
“Our most popular pieces are charm bracelets, starting at around $20. You add to them over time, to celebrate ‘unforgettable moments,’ as Pandora’s slogan puts it,” he said. “A father wants a birthstone or baby bootie charm for his wife, who has just had their first child. For the baby’s first birthday, he’ll come back for a birthday cake or cupcake charm. Teenagers buy silver charms for their mothers; husbands usually choose ones with gemstones and gold.”
With more than 20,000 pieces of jewelry in stock, Koerber’s store is the largest Pandora dealership in Kentucky. Customers come in not only for the day-to-day selection but also for the monthly promotions. October has featured free jewelry boxes with purchases; next month will have a bracelet promotion, and a special Black Friday charm available on Nov. 25. During December, the store will carry Pandora’s 2011 Christmas ornament.
“I’ve also ordered more than 7,000 holiday gift bags, which we expect to give away in about a three-week period,” he said. “Guys will appreciate having their purchases ready to put under the tree. We’ll also have extra staff to help when they say, ‘I want to buy something, but I don’t know where to start.’ ”
The fact that he gets to work with some of nature’s most beautiful materials, combined with the satisfaction that comes from helping people commemorate special occasions, keeps Koerber smiling.
“This morning, a lady bought herself something for beating a sickness; and a friend told me he is ready to buy an engagement ring,” he said. “I never know who is going to walk through our door, or what I’ll get to work on. This is a very happy business to be in.”
Pandora of Louisville is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m., and Sunday, noon-6 p.m. For information, call 502.749.4310 or visit www.pandora.net.
photos by MARY ALAN WOODWARD | contributing photographer
Category: Business Profile