Capri Jewelers: The Resurrection of Chris DeCapri
Chris DeCapri is like the phoenix of ancient lore. In February, 2010 he went into the hospital for a simple outpatient procedure and spent the next three months in critical condition, fighting for his life. The doctors were not optimistic. Twice during his toughest days in ICU Chris “coded” in a touch and go battle with death. Family and all of us working with Chris were told, prepare for the worst. There really was nothing more the doctors could do but hope…and pray. But deep down in his soul, even unconscious, Chris DeCapri’s spirit, his will to live, was much too strong. His life, his children, his thriving jewelry business, no, Chris DeCapri had much more living yet to do. You see, after beating cancer in his youth, survival is wired into Chris DeCapri’s DNA.
Chris has always thrived, especially in business. Over the last 25 years he built Capri Jewelers into one of Virginia’s most successful jewelers. As the diamond and bridal powerhouse in Richmond, Capri Jewelers is one of the nation’s top Hearts On Fire and Tacori stores. Always ahead of the curve, Chris built his Short Pump flagship store long before the real estate boom that has made Short Pump the upscale mecca of Richmond. Even with the more recent gold buying trend, Chris was ahead of everyone else. He started buying gold as early as 2008, long before his competitors. Chris knew full well from past booms that gold buying would contribute to, not hurt his store brand. Many jewelers have missed the trend, and millions in new revenue completely.
“Chris is always ahead of the curve” Cynthia Woo, Capri’s General manager shared with me, “He see’s what is coming, way before the competition… and we move quickly as a company. This business isn’t for weak people. You have to be fast! You have to be a survivor to be a thriver”. As an example, Cynthia explained that all of their diamond associates are trained and empowered to work directly with diamond cutters as advocates for their clients. “We beat jewelers in New York, DC and even Blue Nile regularly because of our closeness with our clients and the fact that Chris simply will not walk a customer over a few dollars. Our customers are smart, they shop and they know we are better… and that is why we keep growing.” Plans underway for 2012 include a bold expansion and remodel of the store and a bold new marketing initiative.
Chris’ advertising moves fast as well. At Freshley Media, we work with in house marketing director Anna Elko on both their web site and radio campaigns. When shifts occur, changes can be made very quickly and with dozens of radio ads in our system with Chris’ signature voice. We can change our messaging with a day’s notice. Chris is the bold insightful innovator who understands the details, delegates execution to his capable team, then holds everyone accountable for results. He understands positioning like few jewelers I have ever worked with.
Today, Chris is more energetic, focused than ever and yet he has a peace and strength about him I never noticed before. ” There is a photo of me in intensive care, unconscious, hooked up to life support and fighting for my life, that I keep by my bed to remind me every day… that lift is a gift.” Chris shared with me this weekend, ” I’m so lucky for this miracle.” And he seems to be enjoying life, his kids and his business like never before… “Every day…every breath is a gift”. Most people don’t get a second chance at life much less a third. We both stood there and took in the moment, enjoying the crisp Richmond air…”Well it’s simple”…I finally said, “God ain’t done with you yet Chris!” He agreed with a big, confident smile.
The truth is..he’s not done with any of us.