Feb 20, 2011 Moline Dispatch

Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2011, 12:01 am

Jewelry store owner creates his own 'Stiles'

By Lindsay Hocker, lhocker@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: John Greenwood
Steven Stiles opened Stiles Jewelry Design, at 1465 41st St., Suite 3, Moline, a few weeks after Sable's Jewelers closed in 2010. Mr. Stiles was a Sable's employee. He hopes to move into a larger building in the next year.

Steven Stiles' business didn't make a penny last year, but it also didn't lose one.

"I basically broke even last year. That's fine by me for the first year of business," said Mr. Stiles, owner of Stiles Jewelry Design.

The jeweler opened his store at 1465 41st St., Suite 3, Moline, in March 2010, just a few weeks after his former employer, Sable's Jewelers, closed.

He said people have told him it often takes two years before a business makes money and five years before a business really gets going, so he's happy he broke even.

"From what I've heard for the first year, that's great," he said.

Mr. Stiles said his customers have included a lot of familiar faces from Sable's. He said several asked where he was going after they heard Sable's was closing."It's nice to know they support me. It's nice to know I've got a little following."

He said he has gained a lot of new customers, especially sinceStiles Jewelry Design was listed in the phonebook. He said his wife, Jennifer, who works at Trinity, also has referred many of her co-workers to the store.

"Happily, I'm getting a few doctors in," Mr. Stiles said.

Mr. Stiles started in the jewelry business in 1998, when he became an apprentice at Expressions Jewelers in Davenport. Between his time at Expressions and Sable's, he had 12 years of experience when he opened his own store.

His 2011 goals include growing his customer base by at least half, getting a few more tools, and making enough money to move to a bigger location.

He plans to look for a new storefront in the fall, and hopes to be moved in by this time next year. He's leaning toward looking for a building on Avenue of the Cities or John Deere Road.

Mr. Stiles expects he won't be able to hire anyone when he first expands, but said he'll need help eventually.

"A lot of guys run the store and hire a jeweler. I would be more prone to hire a salesman," he said.

While he wouldn't mind having a jeweler on staff to do repairs at some point, he said he can't imagine not designing and creating pieces himself, and thinks there always will be a market for custom pieces, which the store specializes in.

"If it is something you're going to have forever, why would you want to get something you could get anywhere?" he said.

The Stiles Jewelry Design cases feature Mr. Stiles' creations, including sparkling engagement rings and necklaces with colorful stones.

"I like working with colored stones, but it's nice to interact with customers who are getting married," he said. "It's just neat seeing people starting out in life."

Mr. Stiles said he's happy he ventured out on his own, even though it can be scary at times. He said it's hard during the summer on days when only the postal carrier comes in, but the good times make up for it.

"It's been a lot of fun when it's busy."

Stiles Jewelry Design

What: Jewelry store specializing in handcrafted pieces, also offers repairs and appraisals.

Owners: Steven and Jennifer Stiles, Geneseo.

Address: 1465 41st St., Suite 3, Moline (near Ming Wah).

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday or by appointment.

Website: stilesjewelrydesign.com and on Facebook.

Phone: (309) 762-3300.

Comment on this story