DALLAS — The unique combination of semi-precious stones, handmade jewelry and fossils enabled Back Mountain Jewelry and Rock Shop to reach a five-year business milestone.
Store owner Steve Shedlowski tapped into a market niche in 2011 when he opened a small storefront on Lake Street.
Today, the business, located at 2800 Memorial Hwy., attracts local customers as well as patrons from New York and New Jersey.
“The biggest draw is the variety of stones,” he said. “There are rock hounds, Reiki practitioners and kids who are budding rock collectors that come in.”
Word-of-mouth spread about Shedlowski’s artistic talents as a jeweler, silversmith and goldsmith. His ability to bring a customer’s design idea to reality has allowed him to make one-of-a-kind items.
Shelves gleam with over 150 polished crystals and semi-precious stones. Deep shades of green in the African Malachite, soft aquamarine hues of Peruvian opals and the iridescent sheen of Labradorite capture the beauty of nature.
Each display has a little card explaining where the stone came from and its believed metaphysical properties.
Another section of the store features sharks’ teeth, petrified wood, geodes and fossils. Shedlowski has a mini-library of books about rock hunting, jewelry making and the metaphysical properties of the stones that he shares with customers.
Shedlowski, a self-described “rock hound,” said the path to get his business to the five-year anniversary was a little rocky itself.
“When I started, I did not have a budget for advertising, but by the third year in business I knew it (the shop) would work out,” he said. “I was told it takes about five years to get a business established.”
His entrepreneurial dreams started as a child when he received a rock tumbler as a Christmas present.
“I was 11,” he said. “It opened a whole new world for me.”
Shedlowski’s developing interest filtered up to his dad, who would often take him rock hunting.
“Dad got into it,” he said.
His parents, Jim and Shirley Smith, became so interested in gemstones and rocks that they started their own business called Gemstone Gallery in the 1980s.
Gemstone Gallery had a location in the West Side Mall in Edwardsville as well as in New York and Florida.