EAST AMHERST, N.Y. — Amherst Jewelers owner Joel Jaffe is gearing up for his busiest time of year.
He counts on Christmastime for about 40 percent of his business, but this year it's even more important.
"All of our merchandise is new, because everything was stolen," Jaffe said.
In July, theives used an elaborate scheme to break into his store and take about $300,000 worth of jewelry, cash and other valuables, including coins he was saving for retirement.
"It's a shock when you open the door and it hits you in the face," Jaffe said of the robbery. "It's totally shocking when you don't know what's going to happen to you."
But ever the optimist, Jaffe was confident he'd be back in business, and he was right.
"It's just money that was taken, and money can be recovered by hard work, so we'll get back on our feet."
With the help of vendors and good credit, he's been able to restock his store. He even had a hand from a nearby competitor, when M.A. Laurie Jewelers in Williamsville held a charity sale to benefit Jaffe's recovery efforts.
Now he's ready for the rush of shoppers looking for the perfect gift.
"I'm very optimistic, we're going to have a good year," he said.
Always able to find the diamond, even in the roughest of times.