Today we chat with Joe Grimes, owner of Your Family Jeweler in Plant City. Grimes grew up in Rhode Island, one of three children in what was then known as the jewelry capital of the world. Grimes came to Florida to attend the University of Miami and around the same time, his family relocated to the Sunshine state. He attended the Rhode Island School of Design and has continued gemology training through the years. He started a jewelry shop in Plant City 13 years ago and married his wife, Yukiko, nine years ago.
Q: How did you get in to the jewelry business?
Answer: I began my career with our family jewelry manufacturing business producing large scale contract designs for most of the largest department stores in the U.S. and catalog companies such as Macy's, Sears and Abraham and Strauss. My dad, brother and I also peddled other goods to smaller retail shops.
Q: How did you end up in Plant City?
Answer: I replied to a newspaper ad wanting a jeweler at the Olde Village Shoppes. Vicky and the late David Hawthorne offered me an opportunity to start a jewelry business doing repairs, selling diamonds, antique, estate and consignment pieces. Your Family Jeweler has developed in to a successful business after 13 years.
Q: You lost your first shop in historic downtown Plant City to an arson fire. When was that and how did it affect your business?
Answer: That was a sad day, not just for me, but for the community and all the vendors. That was Feb. 2005. Everything we had was destroyed, though we never had damage to our customers' goods because of the quality of our safe. With the help of the Lord, the people of Plant City and hard work, I have gotten where I am today.
Q: What is your favorite kind of jewelry to make?
Answer: I am flexible. I enjoy rendering an idea on a piece of paper, sometimes napkins, making a design, calling my customers and seeing their expression when I present exactly what they wish for. My favorites are antique filigree pieces, redesigning and repairing.
Q: How do you have fun when you're not slaving over gold, diamonds and silver?
Answer: Crazy as it might seem, I love to cook. The creativity never ends. My wife, Yukiko, and I have a blast making and eating the finished product and checking on our fresh herbs, tomatoes, peppers and orchids.
- Yvette Hammet