Everybody has to start somewhere and for Timothy Grant Jewelry's namesake, that beginning was a paper route. During the course of his delivery job, young Grant became friendly with a neighbor who made jewelry in his basement; something about the process was fascinating.
“I always liked making things and building things and I've always been around a lot of arts,” he said. “The tools intrigued me and it looked fun, taking things and putting things together and designing things.”
The fascination grew as Grant went off to college in Ohio. After his freshmen year, he switched to Gem City College in Quincy, IL to finish his degree and follow his passion. It would take some time before Grant wold make a living doing what he loved, however. “I like to say it took me 10 years to become an overnight success,” he joked.
As with many college graduates Grant's first job was far less than satisfying and lasted only six months. “My first jewelry job was at a jewelry factory in St. Louis that made a lot of masonic type jewelry and awards and rings,” he said. “I would sometimes sit for two to three weeks and fit the same size stone in the same kind of ring every day.”
Learning to Run a Family Business
Family jewelry stores were a better fit and Tim's career took shape as he worked the counter, while making jewelry from his home. The experience of working in the small shops was instrumental to his future success. “I learned right in the trenches about running a family business,” he said.
Rainbow Jewelers in Schaumburg was the last store Grant worked before opening Timothy Grant Jewelers in Lake Zurich 16 years ago. He opened his second outlet, three years ago in Schaumburg when the owner of Rainbow Jewelers approached him with a proposition. “I own that store now,” he said. “About three years ago that gentleman came to me and wanted to retire in Florida and asked me if I wanted to by him out.”
In some ways, Timothy Grant Jewelers is like other jewelry stores; he does repair work and sells watches. What makes the difference is the unique creations available inside. “About 30 percent is my work and another 30 percent is other designers,” he said.
Grant credits his staff's input when it comes to the success of his venture. “I couldn't do it without them to support me,” he said. “They're all designers and I also have people who work in the shop and do the bench work and do the jewelry work.”
Translating Dreams Into Designs
Customers often approach Grant with a design in their head hoping he can translate their dream into reality and that's where Grant feels his strength lies. “We're going to spend the time with you to get what you want correct,” he said. “We've spent a lot of years learning to ask the right questions to get information from you and we make things that are unique with quality craftsmanship.”
Although customer satisfaction is a ringing endorsement, Grant's awards speak strongly of his artisanship and expertise in the field. “We won a couple of Pearl vision awards,” Grant said. “We've won a couple of Midwest Jewelers Association Design awards” Grant's latest prize winning creation was a replica of a customer's prized banjo.
Despite the passing of time, Grant still wakes up, ready to go work at one of his stores. “I don't know anything else. It's what I've put my effort into, it's who I am,” Grant said. “I'm the Tim the jewelry guy.”