By M.J. GALBRAITH
It’s not easy, passing down the family business. Maybe the next generation isn’t as business-minded, maybe they just don’t care about that particular field of industry. There are all sorts of factors that can lead to a family-owned business being sold or shuttered.
Fortunately for fans of Ace Diamond Jewelers, 13840 Michigan Ave. in Dearborn, there’s Carl Marusak Jr. and his brother Michael, the next generation of Marusaks to run the jeweler since their father and grandfather first opened the Dearborn institution in 1978.
Carl and Michael have taken it upon themselves to bring Ace Diamond, 13840 Michigan Ave., into the 21st century, focusing their attention on building the company’s web presence and e-commerce sales, all the while maintaining their footprint in downtown east Dearborn.
Metromode Media talked to Carl Marusak Jr. all about it.
Q: It’s been about a year since you took over the family business. How has it gone so far?
It’s definitely been a learning process. We’re becoming more familiar with the business and how things are run here. We’re changing some things up since we started more than 40 years ago.
Q: What did you do to prepare yourselves to start running Ace Diamond?
I finished school with a marketing degree from MSU a couple months before starting here. My brother had already taken two to three years of GIA classes. We both underwent specialized jewelry sales training. And then we have our dad, who is just a phenomenal teacher. He knows all of the ins and outs of the business.
Q: Was it a big learning curve?
We’ve been coming here since we were 1 to 2 years old. Our dad would bring us in and try to have us sell jewelry to customers as a joke. We’ve always known the business. The customers come in and tell us how they’ve known us since we were a couple feet tall. They’ve watched the generations grow up.
Q: What’s surprised you most?
The variety of tasks in management. It might not seem like there’s something to do at the time, but there’s always something that needs to be done. Even stepping out on to the floor, it helps to have the owners come out and interact with the customers, show that this is a family business and not a corporate chain.
Q: What do you plan on changing?
This place was started in 1978 and back then it was all about the brick-and-mortar style of business. We’ve been working hard on our website, on the e-commerce side of things. Working on our Google results and social media like Facebook and Instagram — we’re making our online presence known. Now people can easily contact us through social media, email.
Q: What role do you think ACE Diamonds plays as a multi-generational business in Dearborn?
We often link up with other businesses in town, run promos with restaurants. We’ll host giveaways now and then; you have to come in to sign up so it’s the locals that win. We have customer appreciation days. We have barbecues in our parking lot during the festivals where people can come hang out if they want to. We’ve done car shows. You try and connect with people on different levels. We make donations to veterans groups, local sports teams.
It’s important to stay connected to the community. That’s our whole brand, our mission statement. We’re more one-on-one with our customers. It’s that feeling that they belong and are part of our family, as well.
Q: Being here for generations, what does this community mean to you?
It’s a really good feeling to stay local and support the city that made you who you are. To see the city prosper now, there’s been tons of progress in Dearborn these last 10 years. You’ve gotta support where you’re from.
(This story was reprinted from Metromode Media. It also is available at: www.secondwavemedia.com/metromode/features/AceDiamondJewelers.aspx.)