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HOT 100 INSPIRING INDEPENDENTS: BJ Nichols — Reis-Nichols Jewelers

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It never hurts in business to have friends in high places, and this is advice taken to heart by the founders of Reis Company in 1919, which began life as a Masonic ring manufacturer.

Its name changed to Reis-Nichols in 1980, seven years after William Nichols acquired the company.

Not long after that, BJ, son of William, took over the day-to-day running at just 20 years old, and immediately pivoted towards luxury watches as a future driver of the company.

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It has taken years to build the totem pole of brands it now sells, starting with Baume & Mercier and then snaring Rolex in 1992 and later landing Patek Philippe.

All the while, the Indiana-based retailer built its reputation through outstanding treatment of both its clients and its team.

Last year, Reis-Nichols won a Best Place to Work in Indiana award for the second year in a row. “I think we have a great culture and have done a fantastic job of cultivating an environment that the new generation of employees want to be a part of,” says BJ.

“I think it makes us stand out. We don’t talk much about turnover; we talk about creating an environment that distinguishes us from our competitors, and we make our culture a priority.”

In Indiana, almost everybody is a motor racing nut with the smell of the Indianapolis 500 in their nostrils. BJ is no exception; he drives in the PCA Porsche Club. He is also an instrument pilot.

“In my spare time you can find me in the air or on the track,” he chuckles. “I guess you would say I enjoy adrenaline hobbies.”

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