Grace Jewelers is a family business. Opened in 1999 by David Ruland, the shop is now owned and operated by his son, Nathaniel Ruland. Nathaniel Ruland’s sons are also now taking an interest in the shop and working there with their father. The store even has a special four-legged seller.
“We’re on our third generation here in Black Mountain,” Nathaniel Ruland said. “We’ve been open for almost 25 years.”
When the store first opened on State Street, Nathaniel Ruland said Grace Jewelers was the only jewelry shop in Black Mountain. Eventually the store moved to its current location on Broadway Avenue.
Today, Grace Jewelers is a full-service shop offering jewelry, repair and custom pieces.
Nathaniel Ruland said the custom design process is his favorite aspect of the job.
“I really enjoy that,” Ruland said. “It’s a lot of fun to work with a client. They mostly know what they want, they just have to find it. I’m just like the guide and then I make it happen. That’s something I really enjoy.”
Though he spent his childhood working with his father buffing rings and changing watch batteries, Ruland did not immediately go into the family business. He said he took some time away and went to seminary school to be a pastor.
Ruland said that “didn’t really work out,” so he went into teaching at Montreat College where he taught for a few semesters.
Eventually, he found his way back to Grace Jewelers.
“This was just starting to look more and more attractive to me,” Ruland said. “Most of the people that I work with are local people, and I get to see them very happy. I get to make a lot of people happy.”
Ruland said he sees the biggest success of the business as having so many satisfied customers. He said the store would not continue to exist if not be for the loyal customer base. While Ruland does much of the work himself, he said his four-legged sidekick Ruby certainly helps and is a big hit with customers.
Still, Ruland said, even with success comes some slow days. He said these slow days are the hardest part of the business.
Occasionally, though, he said, someone will come in on the slowest of days and make a purchase that makes the store’s month. Ruland said he tries to keep in mind that this may always happen.
“Keeping that in mind and remembering that on the slow days,” Ruland said. “It’s the biggest challenge, really.”
Looking toward the future, Ruland said he hopes the business stays in the family.
“I hope that my sons would like to continue,” Ruland said. “They would take more of a central role and take over.”
Ruland said the store motto is “Every day is a special occasion,” and he tries to live by that daily.
“I’ll say that out loud when people come in and I’m working with people and showing jewelry,” Ruland said. “The reason I say that is just to remind myself too. Every day is a special occasion for grace and to be grateful.”
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