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The Jewelry Shop is a thriving gem

April 07, 2013|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Tim Myers, left, co-owner of The Jewelry Shop in Greencastle, Pa., is shown with, from left, staff members Teresa McCauley, Marge Martin and Marjorie Motichka.
Yvette May, Staff Photographer

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — Few are brave enough to risk opening a business in today’s uncertain economy.

But times were just as financially tumultuous in the recession-ravaged 1980s when Tim Myers, Nancy Motichka and her son, Tom Motichka, took a risk and opened The Jewelry Shop in downtown Greencastle.

The business is celebrating its 30th anniversary this month.

Myers was just 18 years old when he and Nancy Motichka opened the shop on April 1, 1983, at 18 E. Baltimore St. in Greencastle.

Tom Motichka, 27, was a silent partner in the business when it opened.

Myers graduated from Greencastle-Antrim High School in 1982, and the next year, he and Nancy Motichka became business partners.

The friendship between Motichka and Myers began when they worked together at the former McBeth Jewelers in Chambersburg, Pa.

Myers was 15 when he started working part time at the Chambersburg jewelry store and Motichka was the store manager.

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“She took me under her wing,” he said of Nancy Motichka.

“Nancy had left McBeth’s and stopped in the store,” Myers said. “I made a comment that we should go to Greencastle and open our own store.”

Four hours later, she called back, he said.

“She said her husband thought it was a great idea,” Myers said.

“I said, ‘I’m 18 years old. Really?’” he said.

“Everybody said, ‘You are crazy opening a jewelry store in a recession,’ but at 18, you’re not worried that much about it. It was kind of like as long as I had a couple of bucks in my pocket and my car ran, I was happy,” Myers said.

In 1988, Nancy Motichka retired and Tom Motichka went from being a silent partner to an active one in the business.

Myers and Tom Motichka ran the business on their own until 1999, when they hired the first of their six employees.

“When my mother approached me about starting a business with Tim, I went along with it. I don’t think I could envision what our business would mean to our families and the community. It was the best decision any of us could have made,” Tom Motichka said.

Myers’ love of the jewelry business began at a young age.

“My family was always in jewelry stores buying stuff,” he said. “I bought my first ring when I was 12. I probably bought my first diamond when I was 13.”

Armed with knowledge from books, hands-on experience gathered at McBeth Jewelers and apprenticeships in York, Pa., and Hershey, Pa., Myers felt ready to open his own store.

When asked if he was overwhelmed when the store opened in 1983, he said he really wasn’t.

“You can’t fail, right? As long as you open a business, you’re going to be fine, right?” Myers said.

“He was clueless,” said Marjorie Motichka, Tom’s wife, who handles marketing and promotions for the store.

Things were pretty tight financially until the business was established.

“It was pretty lean the first five years until we built up a reputation and started buying our own inventory,” Myers said.

He borrowed startup capital from a relative.

A $30,000 laser used in the shop to repair jewelry cost more than the capital outlay of the store when it opened, Myers said.

No matter what the economy is like, Myers said the store has relied on its repair business.

“We’ve always done tons of repairs. We do repairs for six other stores, and that business thrives actually better in a recession,” he said.

When funds are tight, customers spend money on repairing family heirlooms and pieces they have had in their homes rather than on new items, he said.

“The store has grown on the jeweler’s bench, on that repair bench,” Marjorie Motichka said. “It really is service.”

All the repairs are done in-house, Myers said.

Born and raised in Greencastle, Myers has never considered moving his business out of Greencastle.

“I’ve always loved this town. I can be at BWI (Baltimore-Washington International Airport) in an hour and 10 minutes, to downtown Baltimore in an hour and 10 minutes or in D.C. Greencastle is centrally located,” Myers said.

Myers said the secret to his business success, in part, is enjoying what he does.

“In the beginning, it was realistic expectations. The old adage that you pay yourself first doesn’t work. You have to pay your bills first, especially early on,” he said.

Myers said one of the best things about the jewelry business is interacting with the public.

“We’ve made a lot of good friends over the years,” he said.

Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Joel Fridgen said The Jewelry Shop is an asset to downtown Greencastle.

“Having a business like The Jewelry Shop be a part of the community for 30 years is wonderful. They help draw people locally and from around the area,” Fridgen said.

Its reputation for quality and exceptional customer service draws shoppers downtown, he said.

“People come to The Jewelry Shop and stop by other downtown businesses to shop. Part of a thriving downtown is having businesses complement each other,” Fridgen said. “We wish them continued success and hopefully many more years as a business in downtown Greencastle.”

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