DDC's Kaufman: Come To NYC, We'll Make You an OfferJune 12, 12
An opportunity to show that New York is a viable trading
center, DDC President Kaufman
"We will be bankrupt soon," one of the members warned Kaufman when he contemplated taking on the presidency post. A sentiment that reflected the low mood prevalent at the DDC. "But I thought it was possible," he says.
Making matters worse, the last president resigned amid allegations of misconduct, something that contributed heavily to the negative sentiment.
However, more then anything else, the DDC faced a heavy and growing debt. Despite all the negatives, Kaufman decided to give the presidency a shot.
His strategy was a mixture of real-estate decisions, salary cuts and staff reductions coupled with a search for pride and bringing in more business.
Office reduction or elimination with the help of the building owners was an early step. The DDC president no longer has an office, for example. "I can meet people in my personal office, there is no need for [an executive] office," Kaufman said. Reduced rental costs helped reduced expenses.
"We need to count every penny," Kaufman says. "I look at every expense, and go over the books every week. We now have a positive cash flow."
In another attempt to strengthen the DDC from within, the Club is working on health care benefits and insurance packages for members. This development should be in place over the summer and is seen as an important step in battling a declining membership.
"In the past, membership was lost to changes in the way of doing business," says Kaufman, alluding especially to the change in the central role of doing business in the
To change that, Kaufman has initiated a series of activities. Buyers, he says, felt that DDC traders were just an extra hand, an intermediary, with many preferring to bypass them and buy directly in
In response, he is introducing Market Week. "Come to New York, come with your wife, see a show, go out to a good restaurant, and while you are here, come see what we have to offer," Kaufman played a patriotic card. "It's an opportunity to show that
The first Market Week is scheduled for September, and the goal is to hold them a number of times a year. Traders, some from buying groups, will be invited to the DDC to meet diamond traders, see goods and hopefully find that doing business locally has its benefits.