Majors

Robbins Brothers Eyeing Expansion, Adds New VP of Stores

MajorsJan 20, 2022

Robbins Brothers Eyeing Expansion, Adds New VP of Stores

CEO Marc Friedant discusses what’s next for the jewelry chain following management’s move to buy it back from a private equity firm.

Robbins Brothers, the Azusa, California-based chain of 15 jewelry stores, is building out its executive team as it plans for its future. (Image courtesy of Robbins Brothers’ website)
Azusa, Calif.—Robbins Brothers has remained under-the-radar for the past few years relative to other major chains, said CEO Marc Friedant, but is now ready to potentially make some moves.

The chain’s management team recently bought the business from private equity firm Comvest Partners following its sale in 2009 as part of bankruptcy proceedings. 

While private equity firms can focus heavily on sales, the management team’s new partnership with Houston-based investment firm Main Street Capital Corporation is expected to be more beneficial to both parties, Friedant said in an interview with National Jeweler.

“It was very critical that we were able to find a partner where that’s not their model. They are going to be much more patient, much more supportive, and more of a financial partner than a private equity owner. That will allow us, we believe, to execute our strategy and our vision.”

The chain currently operates 15 stores in Arizona, California, Texas, and Washington, but is considering an expansion.

Robbins Brothers hasn’t opened a new store since 2015, when it expanded into Scottsdale, Arizona.

“What we want to do, where appropriate, is to expand our number of doors,” said Friedant.

“And I’m not suggesting we go from 15 to some gigantic number, but that we grow in areas where we have demonstrated success, where we believe there is an opportunity for incremental doors to support the demand, and that may be in markets we’re in today or markets that are next to where we are today.”

The company is looking to identify a market where it can satisfy customer demand without cannibalizing itself, he explained. 

“We’re either going to do it by opening a new store or, possibly where appropriate, buying an existing store and making it a Robbins Brothers.”

 Related stories will be right here … 

To support its new vision, the company has been changing up its executive team.

Robbins Brothers has added Ann-Marie Patton as its new vice president of stores.

Mark Pimental, who formerly held the role, is no longer with the company, said Friedant.

Prior to joining Robbins Brothers, Patton spent most of her career at Signet Jewelers, where she served as vice president of North America for the Kay Division and as divisional vice president of North America for Jared and the design and service center divisions.

“Ann-Marie brings far more than experience to our team,” said Friedant in a press release about the appointment.

“She also brings a belief that engaged team members are key to delivering consistent and unparalleled in-store customer experiences, which ultimately leads to exceptional sales performance and team member and customer loyalty.”

Patton said, “We all bring a deep expertise in our own areas of the industry and importantly, we are all innovators by nature and look forward to putting our individual strengths into a collective power to grow and evolve the Robbins Brothers brand.”

Friedant hand-picked Patton as part of his strategy of choosing leaders who can bring “innovation, experience, and a dedication to customer service to the team,” he said in the release.

The traits he looks for include understanding the changing consumer and an ability to collaborate.

Merchandising, marketing, and store operations need to work together seamlessly, said Friedant, who has built up a leadership team designed to meet that goal.

In 2021, Kris Land joined the company as vice president of marketing. 

She previously served as the chief marketing officer for Alex and Ani and Ultra Diamonds in Chicago, and also held vice president roles at Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and Kay Jewelers.

And Robbins Brothers welcomed Sue Hopeman as vice president of merchandising in 2019. 

Hopeman brought more than 20 years of merchandising experience, including 14 years at Zale Corp. where she was named president of Gordon’s Jewelers, a division of Zale at the time.
Lenore Fedowis the associate editor, news at National Jeweler, covering the retail beat and the business side of jewelry.

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