Joey Brown finally got to make a career out of his hobby.
“I’ve been tinkering with jewelry repair for years, but I never had the right tools at home,” he said last week, in his new store — JJ Jewelry, in downtown Redwood Falls.
Brown, who attended Red Rock Central High School in Lamberton, didn’t originally set out to be a jeweler.
When he was still in his late teens, he bought his first trucking company, and still owns one in Sanborn with his wife, Tamara.
But the idea of owning a jewelry store never quite went away.
“My wife has always talked about this store, and said Redwood’s a great community,” said Brown. “I used to tell her that if the jewelry store every came up for sale, I should think about it.”
When the former Gem Den went on the market, Brown decided to take the plunge.
“When I saw my banker, he had a big smile. ‘You’re going from trucking to jewelry?’ he asked.
“I said ‘Yup, I’m ready for my next big challenge.’ I’m always up for a challenge.”
Ed Mays, the previous owner, worked many hours with Brown, and is still acting as a consultant.
“Ed set me up with the right companies, and took me through the whole process,” said Brown.
“It took a lot of exhaustive training to be where I’m at now. I read a lot of books, and asked a lot of questions.”
As for a name, “We decided to name it after our daughters, Julian and Jorga. It’s a conversation piece,” Brown said.
As part of getting JJ Jewelry set up, Brown completely remodeled the showroom area.
“All the inventory is brand new. People ask if we bought the Gem Den’s inventory, but it’s all new here,” Brown said.
In addition to jewelry, Brown carries two lines of watches, and engraveable baby gifts.
JJ Jewelry officially opened on June 21, and Brown has deliberately been keeping things low-key for the time being.
“I want to get a feel for what people are looking for,” he said.
For his first week he sold several sets of earrings and necklaces, and has done a number of repairs.
“I’ve gotten a lot of very good response,” said Brown. “My biggest worry was, ‘Would I feel welcomed?’ But everyone’s been real, real nice.”