In order not to get over stretched jeweller Joe Amaral decided it was time to close down one of his three businesses.
With two jewelry stores and a body connection practice on the go, Amaral says he knew something had to give.
Last Saturday he and his staff completed the closure of Rainbow’s End in Boitanio Mall. When his five-year lease came up for renewal at the mall, he chose to pull out of the mall and focus his energies on Excelsior Jewellers Ltd. on Second Avenue and the opening of his healing business, Body Connection by Joe, which he started professionally in 2002.
“With the lease ending, I thought it would be the ideal time to downsize,” he says.
Rainbow’s End was the oldest store in the mall. Amaral opened it there in 1985. At that time, Excelsior Jewellers was becoming overstocked so when the mall approached him to consider a second location, he jumped at the chance.
While the store at the mall was geared toward a younger crowd, Amaral says it was basically just another store.
“We did really well in there. It was a very busy mall with a different type of clientele. We enjoyed our stay there and we’re going to miss being in there, but unfortunately there’s only so much that I can do.”
Amaral arrived in Williams Lake in 1975 from the Azores Islands.
He managed the Saan Store at first and then was approached by John Stewart to work in his jewelry store.
“He was complaining he couldn’t find any good people to work for him so I told him teach me the business and I’ll come and work for you,” he recalls.
Stewart taught him the business, with the idea that eventually Amaral would buy into the business and take over when he retired.
When it came time to buy in, however, the two weren’t able to agree on a price.
Enamoured with being in the jewelry business, Amaral decided to venture on his own and in 1980 opened Excelsior.
“From unemployment to employed,” he says.
What he learned on the job from Stewart was augmented by courses on jewelry making, watch making and repair, gemology and diamonds.
The nice thing about the move into one location is that no one has lost a job. If anything, a job has been saved, Amaral says.
Day to day Amaral is kept busy with all sorts of things.
Pointing to his crowded desk he says, “as you can see I’ve got estimates galore. There’s always stuff coming in with people wanting ideas of how to create or design jewelry. I teach them how to look after their jewelry or their family heirlooms.”
He gets quite a few requests for appraisals as well, he adds.
There are eight employees working for him and a young employee who does 95 per cent of the jewelry repairs.
Running the two stores has made Amaral aware that things go in cycles.
In the past the mall store was busier than the store downtown, but over the last couple of years that has reversed.
“It’s a sign of the times all around North America. Malls all over are having difficulties finding tenants,” he says.
The nature of buying has also changed as more and more people are purchasing items over the Internet.
Amaral often has customers bringing jewelry in to get sized and asking if they’ve obtained a good deal with their online purchases.
“I would never spend three or 4,000 bucks sight unseen. I’d have to see it actually in my hand before I bought anything,” he suggests.
Presently he spends two, full 13-hour days a week on his Body Connection work.
He offers Reiki, Healing Touch, Zen Shiatsu massage, relaxation and more.
Over the next two weeks he’ll be attending a course in Edmonton to complete his level four as a craniosacral therapy practitioner and is making arrangements to purchase the spot presently held by Elemental Healing on First Avenue.
Craniosacral therapy, he says, is a very gentle art.
Sometimes he’ll be working on someone and it doesn’t feel like he’s doing anything because he’s resting his hands near their head.
“But you’re basically manipulating so after it’s all done, they’re so relaxed that they feel so good.”