By Mackenzie Hurlbert
Leave the gun. Take the gold. Based in Las Vegas, Nevada, Goldfather’s Jewelry, which started in 1983, offers wholesale fashion jewelry merchandise including necklaces, rings, earrings, and pendants. After working for a bank for many years, Goldfather’s Jewelry Founder Bill McClirk joined an acquaintance and gained experience in the swap meet and wholesale fields. Eventually he decided to branch out on his own, and with connections in Korea, McClirk and his wife Patty imported their supplies and grew as a wholesale business. “We flew to Korea and started importing our own chain. We just started getting the swap meets going and doing more and more wholesale,” said McClirk. After starting their business in Southern California, the couple moved to Las Vegas. The business grew so well that by the time they moved there in 1993, McClirk said they had almost completely abandoned retail for wholesale.
Of course every business needs a name, and when it came time to name his new business, McClirk’s friend had an idea. “I am Polish-Catholic, and I am a godfather three times,” said McClirk, “so when I got in the gold business, a friend of mine said, ‘well, you are a godfather three times, and now you are selling gold, so call it Goldfather’s!’ And that’s how the name came about.”
As Goldfather’s Jewelry grew as a wholesale business, their product lines expanded. Their most popular products are jewelry staples such as basic chains, hoop earrings, cubic zirconia pendants, and rings. “Mostly what sells as a general rule are your basic chains. Your ropes, your flat herringbone chains. Smaller chains have become more popular because of the price of gold. It has skyrocketed over the years,” said McClirk. “Cubic zirconia items, like earrings or pendants, seem to be going rather well. We have a vendor who we sell mostly bling stuff to, and that seems to be going well, too.”
Along with facing personal obstacles, McClirk said the economy produces enough challenges for today’s businesses and that it is important to move stock out of the door. “The biggest challenge in this economy is just keeping up,” he said. “Money management is the key for anything. You have to watch your spending and your costs. There are some things you have to tighten your belt on and get rid of your old stock. Any old inventory you have laying around, you have to get rid of that because that is just money laying around.”
McClirk continued, “That has probably been the biggest challenge: Not to have too much dead stock because fashion trends will come and go and if you try to keep up with all of them, you can’t. That’s why everybody has closeouts and blowout sales. And we try to take our markdowns, get rid of the closeouts, and just keep our cash flow going. Fortunately, we are not just surviving, but thriving.”