James Avery Craftsman
|Founded||Kerrville, Texas, United States (1954 )|
James Avery Craftsman is a private company that designs, manufactures, and sells jewelry, primarily Christian themed. The founder, James Avery, started the business in 1954 in Kerrville, Texas out of his (then) mother-in-law's two-car garage with about $250 in capital. The business has grown to about 50 of its own stores in Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, North Carolina, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Alabama, and Texas. The company has five manufacturing plants in Hondo, Fredericksburg, Kerrville, and two in Comfort, Texas. The James Avery jewelry collection carries 1,100 designs and 14,000 pieces made in sterling silver, 14-, 18-karat yellow and white gold, and gemstones.
In the first year of business, Avery sold $5,500 worth of jewelry, and $7,500 the following year. He eventually moved his business to a studio he built in his house close by. By 1957, Avery created his first catalog consisting of 16 pages and 39 items for sale. Also that year he hired his first employee, Fred Garcia. The business continued to spread throughout the state of Texas with items being sold in clothing boutiques and church gift shops. By 1965, the jewelry store was incorporated into James Avery Craftsman, Inc., and soon after in 1967, Avery bought 20 acres (81,000 m2) of land where the corporate headquarters would soon stand.
By the 1970s the company employed 35 people and generated $400,000 in sales. Avery's jewelry became very popular in camps in the Texas Hill Country and still is today. In 1971, Chuck Wolfmueller, a student at the University of Texas working on a master's degree in business, was hired to help grow the business. Wolfmueller initiated a number of changes and the business saw a 40 percent increase in his first year of employment. In 1988, James Avery was named San Antonio Entrepreneur of the Year. Later, in 2007, Avery was replaced as CEO by his son, Chris.
The first retail store was established in Kerrville, Texas in 1973.
- "James Avery enters Colorado market", San Antonio Business Journal, July 22, 2005, retrieved March 7, 2010
- personal communication
- Thiruvengadam, Meena (10 June 2005). "Craftsman finds his calling in making religious symbols". San Antonio Express-News – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 5 December 2012.
- Thomas, Mike W (November 26, 2012). "James Avery announces two new Texas store openings". San Antonio Business Journal. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
- Rubin, Dana (January 1991). "God's Jeweller". Texas Monthly. pp. 86–111. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
- "About the Business". James Avery Craftsman. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
- Official Website
- Harris, Joyce (6 September 2000). "Craftsman's drive for perfection is burnished by faith and failings". Dallas Morning News – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 5 December 2012.