Gold and Silver Exchange opened its doors in June, and this jewelry store specializes in buying unwanted and even broken gold, silver and platinum. And according to Angela O'Keefe, whose father Mike Baldridge owns the store and three others in Sanford, Raleigh and Tampa, Florida, they have plenty of experience in their line of work. O'Keefe, who oversees the store in her free time since being laid off from Wachovia, said their family has been in the pawn and jewelry business since before she was born. Now a Cleveland resident of eight years, O'Keefe's father took a liking to this area during his visits.
"My dad always liked it here when he visited," she said. "He's from Raleigh originally, and he says this area is like Raleigh used to be."
While Baldridge splits his time between North Carolina and Florida, O'Keefe and manager Jackie Calbeck keep the newest store running smoothly.
Along with jewelry, the store also accepts U.S. coins, sterling silver flatware and even dental gold. The price of gold fluctuates every day, and with the price of gold hitting an all time high just last year, there couldn't be a better time to get rid of your old jewelry. And Calbeck said tough times shouldn't be the only motivator for getting rid of unwanted jewels that are gathering dust.
"A lot of people have the impression that you only sell your gold or your jewelry if you're broke, but that's not true," he said. "If it's just sitting in your jewelry box and not getting used, you might as well turn it in and get something out of it, regardless of how bad the economy is."
O'Keefe said the store tries to beat everyone else's prices, a possibility ensured because they sell directly to a refinery in Florida.
And as for the commercials that encourage people to mail in their gold, O'Keefe says to be cautious.
"I would be skeptical of mailing it in," she said. "First of all, you don't know exactly who you're mailing it to. And if you're not knowledgeable about what your gold is worth, you may not be getting what you should. f you have questions about whether or not something is real, we can let you know its worth, regardless of whether you sell to us or not."
The store also has a hand in what is fast becoming a nationwide trend - hosting a gold party. Dubbed by Calbeck as "the new Tupperware party," a gold party involves a host or hostess inviting guests to bring their unwanted or broken jewelry. Gold and Silver Exchange will take care of the invitations, and either O'Keefe or Calbeck will be in attendance to evaluate and price the items. Partygoers go home with money, and the host ends up with a percentage of the total bought from their friends by Gold and Silver Exchange. The store also pays a percentage for any other parties that are booked from the original party.
O'Keefe even recommends doubling up on the parties - for instance, hosting a Pampered Chef party and a gold party simultaneously, so that partygoers who receive money from selling their jewelry can make a purchase from the other items for sale.
Gold and Silver Exchange also cleans jewelry and will offer jewelry repair in the future. If there are stones in your unwanted jewelry that you want to keep, they can remove them for you to take home.
The store will buy, sell and trade, and they have DVDs, cell phones (including plans from Boost and Virgin Mobile), high end electronics, jewelry and more available on site.
Customers can also get paid for any family members they refer - just fill out one of their business cards with your name and phone number, and if a family member brings in their jewelry, you will get a cut of the total.
And as a new business, O'Keefe said they have received a warm welcome from the community thus far.
"We thank everyone who has supported us and helped to get the business off the ground," she said. "My dad chose this community because I love it here, and hopefully with the response and support we have gotten he will soon decide to make it his home again."
Gold and Silver Exchange is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The store is located at 5533 NC Hwy 42 West, Suite B-34, in Peddler's Village. For more information, call (919) 779-4205.
Tips on selling your gold
* The price of gold fluctuates daily - keep in mind that the value is determined not only by weight, but by grade and scarcity.
* Beware of any cash offers made over the phone. A reputable dealer will need to see the pieces in person.
* Be sure of the quality and carats of your gold items when you go to sell them. Most of the unwanted gold jewelry sold today is not 24-carat, but 10 or 14-carat.
* Beware of businesses that ask you to mail in your gold, as you can never be sure what they are basing your gold's value on.
* Always check with local precious metal dealers in your area and shop around to find out who is willing to give you the highest price for your jewelry.