Future of QC jewelry business relies on online sales and millennial life moments

BETTENDORF, Iowa - From selling necklaces and rings, to putting people through a tough kickboxing workout.

9Round Kickboxing owner Jeff Holland has certainly changed his focus in business and gone his own direction.

"For us, it was a lot of different factors. One of them is the competitive landscape and the future of retail in general, consolidation that's going to happen inside the jewelry industry," Holland said.

Holland Jewelers had been a family-run business since 1933, but it closed its Moline store in 2012.

Diamonds on the Avenue, another long-standing jewelry business, will soon shut its doors as well.

"It's just humbling to know that we took this from nothing and turned into a multi branch store and now its time to move on," Kevin Whitgrove with Diamonds on the Avenue said.

Jewelry is in the past for Holland, but he saw big challenges coming.

Keeping jewelry stores in the family would be difficult to maintain.

"A lot of the younger generation that are in their 20s and 30s, they don't necessarily want to come into the business. They saw just how hard retail is, the hours you have to work, all the heartaches," Holland said.

Online sales are making a physical store less of a priority as well, and the market for online jewelry sales is already close to 10% and growing. There is also the matter of people not wanting to use jewelry to celebrate big moments.

"There are all sorts of different items that they're competing with, where in the past, maybe you celebrated life cycle events, now you might have technology, like iPads or phones. People want experiences and trips," Holland said.

Even though Holland says he got out of the jewelry business at the right time for him and his family, he says that there can be a place in the Quad Cities for physical jewelry locations. However, it all depends on whether they learn to adapt.

"Those who are smart and innovate, they'll find a way to stay relevant to the consumer," Holland said.

Whitgrove tells WQAD News 8 that they've already received offers to buy the Diamonds on the Avenue building.