Those early requests from friends, which were stored on 3-x-5 index cards, have grown into a database of requests and searches for more than 10 million customers worldwide. In an amenity that has become a hallmark of the Replacements business model, customers are notified when a piece has been found and is available for purchase. Along with a free pattern-identification program and an impressive crystal- and flatware-restoration group, its hands-on service and attention to detail have won the company rave reviews on a global scale.
Although an extensive collection of ornate and stunning pieces is displayed in Bob’s combination museum-showroom at Replacements’ headquarters, the flashiness or the monetary value of a particular dinnerware often has little bearing on his customers’ selections. Memories of moments shared with loved ones triggered by a particular pattern are the most important selling point of Bob’s product. “There are some patterns that my mother had; it was nothing expensive, but when I see them, it reminds me of my parents,” he says.