President | Hoover & Strong
Torrance D. Hoover started as a fourth-generation member of Hoover & Strong in 1981. He apprenticed for two years learning all the operations of the factory, while attending Virginia Commonwealth University to earn a Business Administration degree. Torry wrote a college paper in 1981 stating the best opportunity for the company was to expand by doing acquisitions and adding new products. Ten years later, the company made its first acquisition of Baker Fendt, the Findings company in Torry’s college paper.
In 1987, Torry became VP of Sales & Marketing. Hoover & Strong’s product offerings grew from 10,000 to 30,000 items. Torry produced new catalogs, full-page trade magazine advertising, direct mail campaigns, started going to jewelry tradeshows and hired the company’s first salesman. In 2001, Torry was named President and George Hoover, CEO.
From 1980–2000, India and China became the world’s diamond-cutting centers due to low labor costs. Many diamond cutters transitioned into casting diamond jewelry. Starting in 2000, many US jewelry manufacturers started moving their operations to Asia. In addition, the fragmented US jewelry retailers started consolidating at 2% per year or 20% over a decade. Over the next two decades, jewelry stores decreased from 40,000 to 25,000 by 2020.
To maintain sales in a shrinking jewelry industry, Hoover & Strong continued to expand products and services by adding new manufacturing capabilities and acquiring more jewelry companies. In 2009, Hoover & Strong bought Keystone Findings, its direct findings competitor and started selling to major jewelry retailers, including Zales and Blue Nile. In 2011, the company bought a silver manufacturer and diamond band setting company. In 2018, another finding manufacturer Tessler & Weiss closes after the owner suddenly dies. Hoover & Strong buys a majority of their equipment and inventory, hires their lead salesmen and toolmaker, and pursues its customers, picking up Signet, the world’s largest jeweler.
In 2005, the Company added new refining methods to reduce chemical production by 80 percent and became the Greenest Precious Metal Refiner in the USA. Hoover & Strong started refining only jewelry scrap and producing product from 100% recycled metals. In 2008, Hoover & Strong introduced their “Harmony Metals and Gems” brand of recycled precious metals, the first manufacturer to do so in the jewelry industry. During this time, the company also started casting services, manufacturing cast settings, bridal and custom casting for jewelers. Shortly afterward, they introduced finishing and diamond-setting services. In 2009, Hoover & Strong purchased Keystone Findings. This enabled Hoover & Strong to offer the largest selection of die-struck shanks, settings and solitaires in the industry.
Hoover & Strong has been successful because it has changed drastically over its 110-year history. One of Torry’s favorite quotes is “We do little that we did 100+ years ago.” Everything is on the table for change or improvement, except Hoover’s core values of Integrity, Helpfulness, Innovation, Responsibility, Quality and Family. These core values have been the foundation of the company that has supported our success.