On February 28, 2011, JCK Online reported that:
Borsheims is adding famed billionaire Warren Buffett to its sales staff—for a day.
The Berkshire Hathaway chairman hasn’t completed his gemology training yet, but he will still be selling jewelry in the store May 1, during the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders’ Weekend. Berkshire Hathaway owns Nebraska Jewelry & Watch retailer Borshiems.
“We are thrilled and flattered that Warren wants to come and sell at our store,” Borsheims president and CEO Susan Jacques said in a statement. “I’m sure he’ll be a record-setting salesman within a few minutes of being on the sales floor!”
On May 1, 2011, famed billionaire Warren Buffett fulfilled his pledge to sell jewelry for an hour at Borsheims and by all accounts, he was a big hit.
In fact, according to the store’s president Susan Jacques, the Omaha retailer—which is owned by Buffett’s holding company, Berkshire Hathaway—had its best weekend ever.
“Buffett did an amazing job,” Jacques told me. “There was a huge line of people. He is such an iconic figure to the shareholders. Where else can they actually say: Warren Buffett sold this to me?”
Having a world-famous salesperson has certain advantages, Jacques noted.
“One gentlemen even handed me a credit card, and said, ‘I just want to buy something from him,’” she recalls. Another buyer had been on the fence about an item for a while, but finally decided to buy it from Buffett.
Naturally, all this brought considerable publicity to the store. CNBC’s Squawk Box broadcast live from Borsheims Monday morning.
But did Buffett actually sell? “Yes, absolutely,” Jacques said, noting he handled product and closed a few sales. While the press was generally kept away from his counter, this account from a local newspaper offers some tantalizing glimpses of his sales technique:
Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, sat on a chair behind the counter while Kovitz tried on the jewelry.
“I think it’s absolutely beautiful,” Buffett said. In an aside to her husband, he said, “She doesn’t need much help.” To Kovitz he added: “You’re positively dangerous.” ….
After Buffett closed the sale, another customer said, “… He told us whenever he buys jewelry for his family he has never regretted it. He thought it would be a good investment.”
Finally, we should also note that Borsheims can also lay claim to being among the first U.S. retailers to carry the Forevermark. Jacques says it’s doing “quite well.”