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10/15/2005 - Rings & Things Relocates in Triangle

In 1972, in a place called 2nd City, one of Spokane’s first business incubators opened. Not realizing at the time that it was a business incubator, the group of artisans, specialty shops, and restaurants was called – depending on the caller – “a truly unique experience at First and Howard”, “Spokane’s alternative shopping center,” or “that hippie place up there.” Rings & Things first opened there, in about 50 square feet of space with one employee, selling “hand-crafted earrings along with rings and things for necks, ankles, and wrists – also jewelry supplies, beads, and turquoise.” Now, thirty plus years later, Rings & Things sells wholesale jewelry supplies of all sorts and has recently moved into a 40,000 square foot headquarters at 304 E 2nd Ave -- and has more than seventy employees.

I was buzzed into the spacious new showroom filled with multitudes of silver, glass, rocks, ceramics, optical fiber beads and more, in all shapes, sizes, and colors to delight the most exacting jewelry designer and craftsperson. I was so dazzled by the display, that I didn’t notice the state-of-the-art security system that records the movements of visitors throughout the room.

Polly Nobbs-LaRue, Marketing Manager, led my tour through the new facility. There are shelves and shelves of jewelry making supplies that are sent by a very busy shipping department to all parts of the world. Previously in the ninth floor of the Bon Macys building, all shipping had to exit through passenger elevators. At the new facility, Rings & Things has two loading docks; one shipping bay and one eighteen-wheeler bay.

Next stop on the tour was the communications room. Along with a telephone system and two T-1 lines, Rings & Things now has ten different servers housed in the usual locked and secure, climate controlled, fire suppression equipped server room. Rings & Things has two primary internal networks and needs ten servers to keep all facets of the business operating smoothly. The marketing department has its very own server in addition to a server that is used just for the company’s full color catalog. Two VPN servers host the company’s intranet, and two more servers are for backup. All data that changes is backed up daily, and all data is backed up weekly for off-site storage. There is a SAN (storage area network) server that just does backup of data that comes in over the weekend. That server may process 100 gigabytes of data over Friday and Saturday nights.

Along with the extensive physical security system, Internet security is a major priority. All e-mail is scanned for viruses using a program that was written by Rings & Things IT department. There are firewalls and two proxy servers. Of course there are servers that run all of the credit card functions and the various business and accounting details.

To keep all the technology running, Rings & Things has an information technology (IT) department of five people. Each employee has a specialty. One is charged with keeping the Web site with its four hundred plus page wholesale catalogue --- much of it in color – current and running properly. Another is in charge of network security, while another keeps the computers and networks for the other seventy employees running properly.

Rings & Things takes advantage of the Internet's capabilities in many different ways. Because the company buys and sells all over the world, instead of trying to always use language, they send pictures – actual photographs – of the items in question so there is never a misunderstanding of what has been ordered.

To learn more about Rings & Things, visit

Billie Moreland
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