Maple Grove Jeweler Closing Store, Retiring After 50-plus Years in Business
For more than 50 years Mark Lauer has been designing one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry.
His passion led him to open a store in Maple Grove 23 years ago, the last 15 in his current Main Street location. Ever since, he has grown a loyal customer base.
“What is so great about our industry is really we are using precious metal and stones but what we really creating are gifts of love,” said Lauer, who owns the Mark Michael Diamond Designs store on Main Street.
But now, the jeweler is retiring and plans to close the store.
“Incredibly bittersweet moment,” said Lauer. “I’ve had so many people come in and just tell me how important I was in their life, for these different things and it’s been really heart-touching.”
Jewelry-making changes greatly
Lauer has designed jewelry since he was 16 years old. That’s when his brother’s friend asked him to make earrings to fulfill an order.
“He came home, set me up with a little kit with making jewelry, paid me 50 cents a pair,” remembered Lauer.
He later made pieces in his home, a far cry from where he is now.
“I changed the basement of my home into a manufacturing facility and we did casting polishing down there originally,” said Lauer.
Lauer says he was glad to leave the basement as the business grew and he needed more space and security.
Besides his space, jewelry-making techniques also changed greatly for Lauer.
“There’s a system called Matrix and it’s used for designing jewelry on the computer and I started out on 1.0 and were now on 10.0 version,” he said.
The program helps create three-dimensional photos of jewelry. The information can also be used to make 3D-printed models that clients can try on.
Lauer can’t say what could replace his Maple Grove store. He also credits his wife by calling her the “unsung hero” of the business. She is the jewelry shop’s accountant. The couple plans to move to Florida to be closer to their daughter.
Although Lauer plans to retire, he is planning a home studio to continue making jewelry.
“I literally have probably 40 sketch books filled with designs, many of which I never had the time or opportunity to make,” he said.
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