It all started with their unique love story. After a brief meeting at a jewelry store where Jeff worked, he and Shelly ran into each other at a fundraiser. When they both greeted the coat checker, Andrea, by her first name, they learned that she was a first cousin to each of them through marriage! The couple also shares the same birthday, August 9. “But Jeff is five years older!” Shelly points out.
“The things that happened in the beginning were coincidental, strange, funny, but if we had met when we were younger, it wouldn’t have worked,” Shelly says. “Even though we’re not blood-related, it would have been more of a family relationship if we had met then. We really think this was God’s timing to meet when we did.”
Jeff learned the industry from the ground up while working at the jewelry store where he and Shelly met. After getting married, they began praying about opening their own jewelry store. They made a list of all the equipment they would need to do so, but they didn’t have the money to buy all of it new and didn’t want to go into debt. “We prayed and knew God would provide what we needed if opening our own store was what He wanted us to do,” Shelly says. Within two weeks, a retiring jeweler came into Jeff’s store to sell his equipment. Lo and behold, he offered nearly every single piece of equipment on their list. “It was a confirmation that this was the right thing for us to do,” she says. That list was one of many times in their journey when God made a way possible. “The whole experience of starting our own business, from beginning to now, has been a step of faith and really God opening doors for us.”
They subleased a bank building, complete with a safe they needed, near the Greenwood Park Mall. The doors of J. L. Johnson Fine Jewelers opened April 1, 1989 (J. L. stands for Jeffrey Lawrence). With their business growing, they expanded the building in 1995. Fourteen years later having outgrown their first space, they hoped there was a way to get out of their lease early. They prayed that God would open the doors if it were meant to be. “We got a call from our landlord one day, asking if there was any way we would be willing to end our lease early,” she says. It was then that Jeff and Shelly understood God’s bigger plan – the new location was better, and they could build to the specs they wanted. “God’s hand maneuvered everything that happened. Everything worked out so well, from working with the developer so closely to a much better lease than we ever anticipated. Everything just fell into place.”
Today they offer designer and custom jewelry, custom designs, full service repairs, resizing, appraisals, restringing, engraving, and watches. Recently a customer wanted something designed in memorial of her grandfather who passed away. She recalled the chocolate chip cookies he always gave his granddaughters. His gold jewelry is being remade into a custom-designed chocolate chip cookie charm necklace. These special and very custom pieces are what they love to do for their customers.
“From the beginning, the business has really grown through the loyalty of our customers over the years,” Shelly says. Longtime customers now have children getting married and starting families, and those families have become the next generation of customers. “We want to know your families and grow with you.”
One of their favorite stories was when an engagement took place in their store. A couple came in to “look” at engagement rings. When they got near the ring that the man had already purchased for his girlfriend, he said, “What about this one right here?” “I love it,” she said and tried it on. “That’s good,” he said, “because that’s your ring.” Then he got down on one knee and proposed. “To us, it’s exciting because we get to be a part of making memories,” Shelly says. “We don’t care how much people spend on the jewelry. It’s more about enjoying those moments with people, and for years later, we get to hear stories about their marriages and families because they are still customers.”
Article sourced from: http://www.townepost.com/center-grove/step-of-faith/