Don Conkey & Sons, our parent firm, was created on the principles of integrity, quality and service. From his start as a watchmaker in 1951, Don Conkey was always eager to deliver the finest craftsmanship, and was respected far and wide for his honesty and care of the customer.

Today Don Conkey & Sons, with their sophisticated special order and design facility, specializes in assisting the independent jeweler. They are not only one of Americas remaining full service manufacturers, but also one of the industry’s top diamond merchants. With LFS Consultants, they are able to provide professional consulting services along with merchandise support.


Mel Schmidt, our Chief Operating Officer, is a retail and jewelry industry veteran. He is a graduate of St. Paul Technical College, a licensed watchmaker, GIA graduate gemologist, and skilled jeweler. He has held a number of key management positions including President of J.B. Hudson Jewelers of Minneapolis and the CEO of the Wm. J. Kappel Co. of Pittsburgh. He is experienced in both single store operations and multi-store management.

Since 1993 Mel has been a leader in the retail jewelry consulting industry. He has worked with hundreds of retail jewelers on their unique business challenges, and his customized solutions have focused on financial turnaround, business transitions, sales of stores, promotional events, bankruptcies, liquidations, and going out of business activities. His experience also includes working with financial institutions, providing appraisals and business evaluations plus assisting with asset recovery and liquidations.

Darren Fries, Vice President, Director of Sales, has over 27 years of sales and management experience in retail consulting. He has worked with both independent stores and national chains analyzing and resolving key business issues facing owners. His clients have included jewelry stores that are members of RJO, IJO, CBG and AGS facing management and ownership transitions, marketing and sales challenges, and financial distress.

Our supervisors are skilled jewelry management professionals. While their individual educational backgrounds and retail jewelry management experience varies, they all bring valuable sales skills, training and hands-on operational expertise that make sale activities successful. Each supervisor is chosen to blend with the existing store team, and their on-site responsibility is to assist the store with achieving its sales goals, coordinate the accounting, and manage sale logistics.

Experienced marketing and design professionals provide an advertising program that fits the requirements of the client. They excel at developing efficient and effective advertising plans and high-impact ads that accomplish both sales goals and expense plans. Once a plan and the ads have been created and approved, the advertising staff coordinates with the on-site supervisors to insure the proper execution of the schedules.

MELChief Operating Officer
DarrenVP, Director of Sales