12 RETAILER HALL OF FAME 2019 And he wasn’t the least bit surprised, having attended parties at Calhoun’s store prior to that while working on the supplier side, first in the colored gemstones division at Krementz & Co. and then at antique and estate jewelry companyThe Registry. “She’s a genius at special events,” says Hucker, now CEO of theAmerican Gem TradeAssociation. “There was never [an event where] you just show up at the store and show jewelry.There was always some kind of event or extravaganza around it. “You never know what she’s going to do, but it’s always the kind of thing where if I were a retail jeweler, I would say, ‘I wish I would have thought of that.’” Acouple examples of top Calhoun parties, in addition to theAGS fête in San Francisco, include the 2008 “Hip- pie Happening,” where local residents listened to live music while camped out on blankets in the store parking lot, and her locally famous Oscar party in the historic ColonialTheatre, which has been written up in the trade ad nauseum. She was selling peace sign jewelry at the Hippie Happening, along with pictures taken by her friend, well-known rock ‘n’ roll photog- rapherTom Gun (Photo credit: Universal Image) delfinger O’Neal (his credits include the cover for Crosby, Stills, Nash &Y oung’s 1970 album “DéjàVu”), but she wasn’t pushing it. And she doesn’t push any jewelry at her annual Oscar party either. It’s just an excuse for people to get dressed up, come out and watch the Academy Awards with a crowd while, of course, keeping the Cal- houn Jewelers name out there. “Many jewelers do promotions that are heavily dependent upon the product. I think one of Cathy’s strokes of genius is the event is the event,” Hucker says. As many smart marketers know, people can sense it when the opposite is true—that the event is just a thin veneer for getting them to buy jewelry. But at Calhoun Jewelers, “Cathy’s customers really feel the events are important because they are cool events and they don’t feel that pressure. They don’t feel the threshold resistance,” he says. “They like to come and have an enjoyable time.” DREAM BY THE SEA Calhoun is being inducted into National Jeweler’s Retailer Hall of Fame in the Single-Store Independent category, though, if all goes ac- cording to plan, she will have a second store by the time this magazine goes to press. Shortly after the Las Vegas shows, the jeweler is set to open the doors on a store in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, about two-and-a- half hours south of San Francisco. Batson says the opening of Calhoun Jewelers west is the prod- uct of that aforementioned tenacity. Calhoun’s ability to bat- tle through health issues, business challenges and relationship challenges makes it possible to realize a dream of hers—to open a second store in a beau- tiful and charming seaside town that is a definite change of pace from eastern Pennsylvania, observes Batson. “She continues to grow, continues to do new things, continues to take over new territory—and I just think she’s amazing.” Calhoun said her new store will carry antique and estate jewelry exclusively, something she sees a need for in the area. Many of the pieces will be from a collection she first appraised at Oletowne Jewelers three decades ago, right after she became a GG, and had forgotten about com- pletely, until recently. Afew months ago, the son of the woman who had owned the jewelry tracked down the appraiser whose name was scribbled on the offer to buy—Cathy Calhoun—and came into Calhoun Jewelers wanting to sell the entire collection for the amount offered 31 years ago. Devastated and overwhelmed by his mother’s death and limited socially by obsessive-compulsive disorder, he had been holding onto the jewelry, and the appraisal slip, all this time. But recently, he told Calhoun, his late mother had come to him in a dream and told him to sell everything so he could free himself. So she bought the collection, naturally, but paid the man more than the initial offer based on the rate of inflation for the materials. Still, it was a good deal for Calhoun, particularly for jewelry that’s been sitting unworn in a bank vault for three decades, and now it will serve as the cornerstone collection for a second store. This story of an appraisal resurfacing after 31 years is quintessen- tial Cathy—it’s an interesting and remarkable tale that is the byprod- uct of luck and what can only be described as good karma. “She has things happen to her that don’t happen to anyone else,” Hucker rightly observes. Hucker didn’t (yet) know the latest appraisal story when I in- terviewed him, but he did recall how his friend Cathy Calhoun happened to hop into a cab with Paul David Hewson, a man better known by his stage name, Bono, on the way to the Gem Awards one year in New York. “She’s got a karma about her,” he says. “I think it’s earned. She’s a beautiful person, she radiates interest and I think that kind of thing attracts [positive] things ... I don’t know, it’s magic.” One of Ruth Batson’s favorite Cathy memories? When the jeweler won the Shipley Award at AGS Conclave in 2017. “She was speechless, which I’ve never seen before,” Batson said. (PHOTO CREDIT: UNIVERSAL IMAGE) CATHY CALHOUN 2019 RETAILER HALL OF FAME “She continues to grow, continues to do new things, continues to take over new territory—and I just think she’s amazing.” — Ruth Batson, former CEO, American Gem Society