Recalling the outbreak of pandemic in March last year in various parts of India and the challenges it brought in Shreyansh Kapoor of Kashi Jewellers says, “We all were sitting at home for over 45 days. Videos of people queuing up outside jewellery stores in Hong Kong and Thailand to sell gold jewellery were circulating widely on whatsapp. This was scary scenario for any jewellery retailer.” The situation is similar to that of a bank if in case of any emergency if all depositors come all together to withdraw their deposits, the bank will be in a serious crisis. “Like everyone else we too were affected by these videos – but we retained our composure and decided to remain cool about it and whatever happens we prepared our mind to face it as a business challenge. My wife is a doctor and her family runs one of the largest hospitals in the city and so we were able to develop a thorough protocol for allowing clients to enter the store, when the lockdown was lifted,” he explains. They had a direct connect with all doctors and they understood the virus – its infection possibility and therefore could develop ways to curtail its spread effectively. Informs the health conscious jewellery business owner, “Just before the lockdown was to be lifted on May 15, they opened the space adjoining our store -- we had a 700 square feet area and we converted that space into a highly modern Covid19 screening room. We had employed doctors, and other medical staff to screen visitors and sanitise them and their belongings thoroughly.”
They brought in Oxymeters and several other medical equipment. They had got all sales personnel trained. They photographed all visitors without masks and then re-allowed them to wear their masks and enter the store in order to avoid any mishaps. They used to run all jewellery through a 100 degree steamer (because they were not sure about the UV machines and their efficacy) and put a Covid-free sticker on it. After all of these precautions, they knew their jewellery was totally safe, clients were properly sanitized and so they could allow clients to try on jewellery as well – which thereafter they used to again sanitise before storing it.
Most jewellery retailers did not allow clients to try on jewellery, because of the fear of infection. But Kashi Jewellers were able to allow it, since they went that extra mile to develop and follow a thorough protocol. The valet parking which they provided – also included valet boys who wore gloves, used a complete plastic sheet on the driver’s seat and then entered the car after spraying it with a good quality sanitizer. Just before returning the car also they once again sanitized the car properly.
One of their clients took a video of the entire effort and uploaded the video on YouTube. The video had got over one lakh views at that time. The most important part was many of their clients had commented and applauded these efforts. “One particular customer had commented that: ‘Thank you Kashi Jewellers for this thorough Covid19 screening and preventive procedure, had our international airports followed such a thorough procedure, there would not have been even a single Covid19 case in India.’ We were the first ones in the entire city to get a good footfall, reminisces Shreyansh. This procedure was part of his presentation at the Hong Kong-based JNA awards and they won the award for being the ‘Best retailer in the world’ there were at least 2,000 entries and the jury panel comprised topmost persons from the G & J industry world over. So this was a feather in the cap for Kashi Jewellers, as their efforts were awarded and recognized at such a globally renowned level.