Stand in front of Ludy’s on Main Street and look at the store to Ludy’s immediate left, that’s where Woodland Gold and Silver has been for two years. Prior to opening as Woodland Gold and Silver, owner Brandon Hodges worked as an employee for the previous business, in this same spot. When the owner retired, after 34 years of business, Brandon took that opportunity to keep the business and rebrand it.
Woodland Gold and Silver is a fascinating business. From the little time I spent with him, it’s clear Brandon is a subject matter expert! He is very detailed and I got the feeling he really cares and respects the merchandise and the customers and vendors he works with.
I really suggest stopping by and asking him questions about his merchandise. Learn a little something that you didn’t know about. I especially like the ring selection, some very unique pieces.
What is Woodland Gold and Silver?
Woodland Gold and Silver is a full-service coin and currency store. We also deal in modern, vintage, and antique jewelry and goods.
How long have you owned the business?
I have owned Woodland Gold and Silver for two years.
What did you do before?
Before that, I worked for the business that was here previously under a different name. I was the employee and worked here for 12 years. Almost 14 years of experience now.
Was the business owner selling? What made you decided to purchase?
He retired from the location and from the storefront in general. He did keep the name to continue to do shows, so I was only interested in the location. Since I had 12 years of experience here, and with downtown and the customer base, I stayed at the same location and reopened under a new name.
Expand on the process of becoming the owner.
The old owner was considering retirement, I think, four or five years before he actually did it. I was the employee, so as he started to talk about it and I had to figure out my future. If he was going to sell the business, I had to decide if I wanted to try to remain an employee for the new owner. If he wanted to retire, I had to consider finding employment at a similar business somewhere else. I did look at a few other businesses in California, a couple in Oregon, but they were businesses that knew me through working here. The other option, of course, was to try to remain here after he left and open up. It kind of evolved over the years as he was going through different phases of wanting to retire, not retire, or leave me in charge.
Ultimately, he decided to retire from the storefront, keep the name to do shows. At the beginning of 2014, he gave me a somewhat firm date for the end of the year. So, I started talking to banks, loan officers, researched credit loans, if those were needed. I started talking to all of our suppliers and vendors to make sure they would be comfortable just opening new accounts for me in my name based on their experience with me previously. So that process went pretty smoothly.
What services does Woodland Gold and Silver provide?
I’m a bullion broker, essentially. So I buy and sell bullion gold coins, platinum, palladium, any type of investment metal, which is what are in the cases here. So I’ll have customers that come in and buy one or two ounces of silver a month, might spend $40 or $50. Other customers come in and invest large sums of money. They might buy 500 or 1,000 ounces of silver or 10 or 20 ounces of gold. Customers can come in, buy from me, leave with it if I have it here. If not, I order it. Since I have relationships with all of the wholesalers, I have terms with them. Customers can also come in and sell. If they want to untie money from their investment, they can come in and sell me 1 or 2 ounces, 500, 1,000, or 5,000. I can handle essentially any quantity.
Besides the bouillion, we also buy and sell other items. We buy and sell coins, old silver dollars, or any coins, Lincoln cents, Indian head cents, really all coins. We buy and sell anything from common ones to the rare key date coins. I purchased a rare coin from a customer just this morning that I sent in to have certified. It was a 1909 S VDB, which is the rarest Lincoln cent.
Would someone who is antiquing come in here?
Yes, I’m not just an antique store, or just a jewelry store, or just a coin store. Almost all of the jewelry that I have, I purchased here. So I have customers that come in, who no longer want it or they want something different. Some customers randomly go through their jewelry box and they’ll pick out all of their individual earrings that at some point they lost the other. That’s generally referred to as scrap gold or sometimes old gold.
If they’re nice and intact and don’t need any type of repair work, I polish them, clean them, inspect them, and put them out for sale after pricing them. My favorite is the antique jewelry. So there’s antique, vintage – which is a really loose phrase that people can use anything from the 40s or 50s. So I do get a lot of probably more vintage than anything. And that’s one of the neat things about the jewelry that I have. There’s a lot of it, but it’s not like walking into Jared’s or Zales.
Most of what I have, I only have one of. It’s not the modern, current style that the younger people tend to want. So if you look around, you’ll see I don’t really have two of any one thing. So there’s much more of a variety that customers can look at when they come in. I do get a lot of the standard solitaire diamond rings like that there.
How has the Internet and the ability for customers to research product affected your business?
It’s affected every business just about. No matter what you sell, the Internet has affected you. So for me, it hasn’t really affected the jewelry side of the business much. You can go to Ebay and Etsy and other websites and there are a ton of people selling jewelry. A lot of people, when they’re buying jewelry, they like to buy it in person so they can try it on. If it’s a ring, it might not fit. You just resize it. But earrings and pendants, people like to try them on, look in the mirror, see what it looks like So the Internet hasn’t effected jewelry much, I would say. It’s affected coins and currency more. The coin market, it’s soft right now. We generally can buy a little bit under wholesale and we sell it a little bit over wholesale.
Do you ever have anyone come in that’s never been in here and they are amazed at what you do?
I do. Even though there’s been a store here for 34 years! I still get people in Woodland that come in and they say they’ve lived here their entire lives and didn’t know this store was here. I always tell people, “We’re right next door to Luddy’s!”. They always know where that is.
I think one reason people might not remember is because our storefront windows are emptied at night. Everything in the display cases goes into our safes. If someone is walking by, especially in the evening it looks like there’s nothing here.
What do you want Woodland to know about Woodland Gold and Silver?
I would want people to know that we aren’t just a jewelry store or just a coin store or just an antique store or just a bullion broker. We plan on being here for a very long time. Don’t know if it’ll turn into a multi-generational business or not, but we do have a daughter so you never know.