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You may have read in the June 22nd 2010 issue of JCKnews that Jewelers of America has announced that its partnership with its state and regional affiliates is being “redefined.” In fact, the new proposed agreement that JA sent to KJA specifies that KJA can no longer identify itself as a “JA affiliate.”

Confusion aside, this change means that you as a member will have two choices: Continue your dual membership by sending $200 to KJA and $115 to JA, or choose to retain membership in only one of the two associations.
In the coming weeks and months you will certainly receive numerous letters and promotional mailings telling you about the value of retaining your membership in JA. Since KJA has promoted those benefits for more than fifty years, we do not want to tell you that your membership in JA is not important. Instead, we hope that we can point out the benefits that are available to you as a KJA member, and benefits that are not a part of JA’s package. It is also important to say that change is an opportunity, and the leaders of your state jewelers association plan to continue building on the benefits of membership and the rich 100-plus year history of the Kansas Jewelers Association!

A number of years ago members of JA’s staff from New York City would regularly visit our conventions because they recognized the need to emphasize “the value of frequent face to face meetings with neighboring jewelers to discuss the concerns, the changes and the opportunities that were common in the area, the state or even the region.” National shows, even those that now have built educational programs into their agenda, do not replace the proven value of sitting around a table sharing thoughts with your neighboring jewelers.

This feeling of “community” is well known by your Rotary and Lion’s Clubs and other main street organizations. Successful jewelers who understand the true meaning of community in our own industry also recognize it! For more than 100 years Kansas jewelers have worked and even played together because they found that there is strength in togetherness! Today’s industry is not what it was even ten years ago, but as history has proven, in times of change, independent jewelers benefit by not fighting the fight independently.

We ask that you, an independent retail jeweler, continue to take advantage of the strength provided by your KJA membership. Make your decision now to continue to be a member of the true independent jewelers organization in your state of Kansas!
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