A Diamond in the Rough
Chris Lyons has been entrepreneurial his whole life. When his wife decided to open a jewelry store in 2008, it was a perfect fit. Lyons got involved a few years later to help grow the business, and today Adele Diamond is thriving.
Like every small business, Adele Diamond has faced its share of challenges. Lyons describes their primary issue was getting the word out about their business in an environment with seven or eight other jewelers. “We were a smaller business competing with larger businesses and inventories,” says Chris Lyons. “We chose to have a smaller, curated inventory.” By focusing on the customer and choosing to showcase in-demand rings at affordable prices, the business began to grow.
Lyons also knows the power of connections, so he began to reach out to the surrounding community. Through networking with people outside the store, the couple began to make new friends and business connections, and they got involved with nonprofits and neighboring businesses.
As part of his community involvement, Lyons joined Propel in 2015, a mentoring program developed by the Hampton Roads SBDC and the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce. It includes a two-month “boot camp” about business principles, followed by mentoring. Lyons wanted to understand the basics of marketing, accounting, and finance, as well as to meet other business owners.
The program was extremely helpful and contributed to Adele Diamond’s growth, according to Lyons. “Our business from 2015 to 2016 doubled its sales. We went from half a million dollars to over a million from one year to the next.” Lyons and his team also relocated the store. He credits the relocation, which they did on the advice of the SBDC, with the increase in sales.
Their recent growth has allowed Adele Diamonds to shine, and they intend to continue doing so. They have their eye on growth, focusing especially on e-commerce. “We would like to be one of the best choices online,” says Lyons.