SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Many South Dakota businesses are reflecting on the difference a year can make since the pandemic hit. The jewelry industry in Sioux Falls has especially seen a big turnaround.

“This time last year was a panic as for everybody,” Faini Designs owner Gerard Faini said. “When the pandemic hit, business just shut down. We were to the point of, what are we going to do?”

This luxury business came to a screeching halt last spring.

“It was very uncertain, especially when you’re hearing across the country that people are without jobs, record unemployment,” The Diamond Room managing partner Justin Shatto said. “When it comes to buying a ring or a pendant or putting food on the table, we’re not going to make the cut.”

Both Sioux Falls jewelers say the Paycheck Protection Program kept their businesses afloat and their employees paid for the first two months of the pandemic.

“We changed the way we did business, instead of ordering and buying inventory, we made our inventory. We made our own designs, gave people a reason to come in and see something unique and busy,” Faini said. 

After that eight-week period, South Dakota’s jewelry industry started to pick back up.

“About May it started to turn around, and literally since May it has gone up ever since,” Faini said. 

“You’re celebrating moments that aren’t going to stop just because of a pandemic. Birthdays are still going to happen, anniversaries are still going to happen, couples who have been together still want to get engaged,” Shatto said. 

The recent stimulus packages have also made an impact on jewelry sales.

“There were people that came in and wanted to get engaged and now they could do it and they had that stimulus package to make it happen. We had people who had things on layaway, and they came and they paid them off,” Faini said. 

It’s a bright story for jewelers in KELOLAND, but not everyone in the industry is seeing the same boost in business.

“There’s a lot of news reports coming out in the jewelry industry, some companies are doing very well, having record months, record years. And others you’re still seeing the impact of still being shut down or still being forced to operate under limited capacity,” Shatto said. 

These Sioux Falls jewelers also credit the caring community for buying gift cards and making special purchases when the pandemic first hit to help pull their business through the uncertainty of last spring.