Mills Menser grew up in the diamond business. His father, Michael Menser, purchased Buchroeders Jewelers from the Buchroeder family in 1971. Mills purchased the company in 2007.
One hundred and twenty years after its creation in 1896, almost everything about Buchroeders has evolved, a trend Mills plans to continue.
“Average is a failing formula now,” Menser says. “You used to be average and keep your doors open and carve a living out of it for yourself. Today, if you’re average, and you’re a small business, you close. There are too many efficient businesses that will work harder than you.”
Like many industries, the internet has impacted how the jewelry industry works.
“It has flattened the profit margins in the jewelry industry, which is fine — it’s done that to every other industry, and those have all survived and thrived,” Menser says.
While the brick-and-mortar Buchroeders sells 600 engagement rings a year, online sales have grown because Menser has embraced the technology. The margins are thinner, he says, but their reach is much wider. Operating online, Buchroeders recently sold a canary diamond to someone in Australia and a Rolex to someone in Hong Kong. By 2020, their goal is for 25 percent of revenue to come from online sales.