One downtown business is staying in the family.
Stephen Miska may have closed up shop at Miska Jewelers on South Fraser Street in June, but his former goldsmith Marleena Reini-Zwolak and daughter Elizabeth Miska will make sure things at the shop stay mostly the same.
The duo recently opened Miska & Reini Goldsmiths and Jewelers in the same space, one that they want customers to feel as welcome in as they always have.
“I learned a lot from (Stephen), just the way he treated customers like family,” Reini-Zwolak said. “I’ve always worked for family owned stores, and the degree he took it to was like he did everything for a family member.”
“I don’t think my dad ever thought about it like it was actually customer service,” Elizabeth Miska added. “He built real relationships with everyone, and understood the importance of that and treating people with, kindness, respect and being fair and honest with them. I learned from watching him.”
Customers asked the two where they would work when news broke that Miska Jewelers would close, and giving a good answer at first wasn’t easy.
“My dad did ask me a year ago if I wanted to do something with the business, but I felt I couldn’t possibly fill those shoes,” Elizabeth Miska said. “When he announced he was retiring and closing the store I just started to realize how much I took for granted, and I realized what I really wanted to do.”
She called Reini-Zwolak before the shop closed with an idea.
“She was the first person I thought of,” Elizabeth Miska said. “My father trusted her for five years to be his goldsmith and taught her a lot. She’s a perfectionist. I thought if I was going to do this then we should do it together.”
If their first few weeks in business are any indication, not much has changed aside from doing more behind the scenes work.
“We’re actually a little surprised, because we haven’t advertised yet,” Reini-Zwolak said. “We’ve been getting repair and jobs like we always have, so it’s nice.”
They’re still figuring things out, but have noticed there is a nice working dynamic between them.
“We’re putting things together pretty well,” Elizabeth Miska said. “Marleena is an excellent goldsmith and I’m doing a lot of designing. We just said goodbye to our first collaborative design piece, and we’re continuing to bounce ideas off each other. We’re learning a lot from each other, and we’re excited to build a business together.”