Tom Shane's World

Bangkok Floods

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Last month, when in Bangkok, I was concentrating on the flooding there.  This was really heartbreaking.  We opened our home to three other families, to share with us.  They all had their homes with between three and five feet of standing water on the first floor.  It was amazing to see how everyone pulled together to get through this crisis.

The flooding

Some of the interior damage

I drove around and saw firsthand what it was like.  I had come prepared.  I flew in from Denver with three duffle bags of emergency equipment, such as chest high waders, life jackets, water purification kits, etc.  I also had an inflatable boat flown in from America, in case we would need it.  The most amazing thing was when, driving in a special high truck with a snorkel for the exhaust, we would be stopping to pick up hitch-hikers.  These were locals, who needed to get to their flooded homes, with food, etc.  The streets were not passable or even safe to walk in.  We would let them jump on the bed of our truck, and we served as sort of a stopgap public transportation system.  We would stop and let some off, while others would jump on.  It felt good to be a real help to so many.

Inflating the raft

People getting on and off the truck

Our own factory was not flooded thankfully.  It is a six story building, and we were prepared.  Everything was moved up from the first floor, and sandbags were surrounding the building.  I wanted to be sure our stores would get what they needed for our Christmas sales.  But please don’t resent that comment.  The reality is that we were able to keep over 70 people employed, and feel normal about life, in spite of the surrounding chaos.  We converted one floor of our factory to allow those that desired to sleep there.  We paid those that in fact lost their homes full wages, even if they could not come into work.  The overall spirit was teambuilding…and given that the factory is American owned, it was particularly appreciated.  We have a great team of skilled workers, and keeping them motivated is a primary duty that I have.

Driving through the water

This trip really put things into perspective at a time of year when reflection comes naturally, and on that note I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Tom Shane is the owner of Shane Co., the largest family-owned retail jeweler in the United States. For four decades Tom has traveled the globe buying gemstones, including diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and pearls directly from the gem cutters for Shane Co. He is the third of four generations of the Shane family to work in the jewelry business. Tom started learning the jewelry business at his father's side at age 12, assisting his father in his store. Tom opened his own jewelry business in 1971, establishing Shane Co. He was 22 years old at the time. In 1996 Tom was knighted into the order of Leopold II in the Kingdom of Belgium in recognition of his lifelong achievement in the diamond business. Tom currently resides in Colorado, but spends a great deal of his time abroad purchasing gemstones for Shane Co. You might know his voice from the Shane Co. radio ads which are the longest running radio ad campaign in history, or you might have caught him at a party with other Colorado celebrities in an episode of South Park.

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