Hi, I’m Jerry. Several years ago I left my career in local TV news where I produced news graphics, commercials and promotions to join Reeds Jenss as their Marketing Director here in Buffalo, NY. It was quite the change going from a large parent company to a locally owned business. I was sold on the idea of making the change after meeting with Reeds owner Jeffrey Zimmer. I learned about how he was the third generation owner of a company that started in Niagara Falls, NY. His father had retired but would still stop in to the office quite often to say hello, offer advice and see the latest jewelry designs the team was crafting. The family values, ethics and commitment to doing what is right for the customer was refreshing, and exactly what I was looking for.
Not long after I was hired, Jeff left to go overseas for 10 days. I was fascinated to hear stories of his travels and thought about how great it would be to be constantly seeing new places and experiencing new people and cultures. “It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s what I need to do to keep our business going. The extra work is what makes all the difference. I’ll show you some day.” he said.
That day came in September of 2018. Jeff asked if I would like to accompany him on his next trip to Thailand and India to film his process and see what goes in to his diamond and gemstone buying. I jumped at the chance. I needed to renew my passport and get a travel visa asap, and I had a million questions.
The trip came up in no time, and I was off to the airport. I had a direct flight out of Toronto to India and was flying alone. Jeff was already in Hong Kong with our VP of Inventory picking out the latest jewelry styles for the holidays. I was meeting him in Bangkok at our hotel. “Are you nervous to fly alone to Thailand?” my wife asked. Of course I was, but I was more excited than anything. A 15 hour flight quickly settled my excitement. I watched 3 movies and slept the best I could.
I landed in Mumbai, India and had a 2 hour layover to Bangkok, where I arrived at 8 am local time. I found a taxi and told the driver, “Peninsula Hotel, please.” Jeff assured me that is all I needed to say and he would take me right there. The taxi driver spoke very little English and had no idea what I was saying. He started driving and talking to someone on his headset as we swerved in and out of traffic consisting of bikes, motorcycles, trucks and cabs. Almost an hour later we were in downtown Bangkok… at the wrong hotel. “Millennium Hotel, you ok.” he assured me. “Peninsula, not Millennium.” I implored. Thankfully, it was only another block away, and it was breathtaking. I had a few hours to kill before Jeff would arrive so I was able to check in and take a shower, which was all I could think about. I then had breakfast and sat by the pool for a bit. Once Jeff arrived the relaxing was over. It was time to work.
Stay tuned for Part Two of this series as I view my first sapphires and rubies with Jeff.
Watch the video of my adventures overseas!