Some people love surprises, some people hate them. To me it always seems to be more fun to be the person planning the surprise which is why I decided to tag along when the engagement jewelry store Robbins Brothers decided to help young bride-to-be Christin Mora enact a little friendly revenge on her fiance. Michael Knobbe, a reserve firefighter in Vernon, California had proposed by pulling up in a firetruck with a 23-foot long "marry me" sign. The proposal later appeared in a Robbins Brothers commercial. But Knobbe, who recently returned from Iraq got a big surprise last week when he thought he was heading off to a fire (at the fire station no less) only to find his fiancee and the folks from Robbins Brothers waiting on a second floor balcony with wedding rings. Perhaps the most fun part of watching the surprise was the delight the Vernon firefighters took in setting it up. A smoke machine poured fake smoke onto the balcony creating a convincing spectacle. Convincing enough to fool a very confused Knobbe who climbed up to the balcony in full firefighter gear only to be greeted with laughter, balloons and TV cameras. He took it all in good stride and seemed to appreciate the fact that his wife-to-be has a great sense of humor too. I'm predicting a very lively marriage for these two. Check out the cuteness in the video above.
The company has now taken the song and idea behind it to create a new internet idea that won't cost you a dime. The Virtual Love Note allows anyone to create a personalized short video using the song and some basic themes. You personalize it with names, photos and other details to make it your own and can then send it to whomever you like. It can be used for proposals, announcements or just plain silliness (one of the examples is a woman's ode to chocolate). It's all part of the brand's mission to share the excitement of love, who's going to argue with that? The folks at Robbins Brothers also showed me the cute diamond ring keychains they give to customers (quick iPhone pic after the jump) and gave me four of them to give away. Want yours? Leave a comment below and the first four comments will each get one.
Filed under: Jewelry
It's been a tough year for the jewelry business and for Robbins Brothers in specific. The company, which specializes in engagement and wedding rings is making a fresh start after emerging from bankruptcy. Last month the company completed the sale of its assets to a purchaser owned and controlled by a significant equity holder of the company. The new legal entity, Robbins Brothers Jewelry, Inc. will enable the Robbins Brothers team to continue business. Andy Heyneman, president and CEO of Robbins Brothers called the recent moves " a humbling experience and an emotional rollercoaster for all involved" but has said that he's excited to have Robbins Brothers get back to the business of helping couples with their ring needs.
The company has created a couple of fun new promotions. They are holding a Diamond Dig in conjunction with Southern California's Orange County Flyers baseball team, after a doubleheader game July 5, 2009. After the game registered contestants will dig for 10 Robbins Brothers lighted ring boxes buried somewhere between first and third bases. The boxes will contain gift certificates, diamond pendants and earrings and one box will hold a .5-carat solitaire ring.Contestants can register at one of four Robbins Brothers locations in the area--Fullerton, Mission Viejo, Riverside or Montclair until June 29, 2009. Registrants will be given a complimentary ticket to the game.
Filed under: Jewelry
The store will be broken into two parts and sold. As National Jeweler reports, bankruptcy documents show that the company will be divided into two parts and sold. Unless it is miraculously rescued by another buyer, Robbins Bros. Corp. will sell the California stores to Robbins Bros. Jewelry, basically to itself, while Canadian jewelry manufacturer and retailer Spence Diamonds will buy the three Houston stores and Illinois locations. Robbins Brothers expanded rapidly over the past few years and was done in by liquidity issues which were compounded by the slowdown in consumer spending. Sales decreased around three percent last year.
The three-generation, family-owned store moved from being a small jeweler to expanding into malls and then in 1995 opening a large bridal-only store.
Jewelry stores have been particularly hit by the bad economy (hence the need for a Sparkle Week). Fortunoff is in the process of liquidation and Zale's is closing 115 stores. With internet sales taking a bigger chunk of jewelry sales each year, jewelry stores were already feeling squeezed. The recession could lead more small jewelry chains to close their doors.
UPDATE: The company has restructured and emerged from bankruptcy.