My ‘Ah-Ha’ Moment
It wasn’t until a visit home for Thanksgiving in 1984, during a business brainstorming session with his brother, that the solution to his father’s dilemma finally hit him. “I was trying to imagine what a store would have to look like if customers were going to be able to meet the expert jeweler or watchmaker working on their item, and see with their own eyes, their watch or jewelry being repaired. The idea of a kiosk, something that is open on all sides, came to mind. That was my break-through moment.”
Mark understood that, in order for store to be successful, he was going to have to create a new model, one focused on service, convenience, transparency, and fast jewelry and watch repairs. Combining the money, from his bonus along with the small amount in his savings, Mark hired his father and the two opened the first store (kiosk) that December in Century III Mall, in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania.
"We were set up across from Santa Claus. By the third day the line for our business was about as long as the line to see Santa. That’s when I truly understood how satisfying and important it was for customers to have their jewelry or watch repaired while they waited." Over the next two years Mark would open four more stores in the Pittsburgh area.