For 34 years, Brad Gamss has been providing friendly service and unique and custom pieces to Barrington, elements which he says have been fundamental to his store, Rahl Jewelers, success.
“Our customers have become like friends and then like family,” he says. “We know people by their first names and we know what’s going on in their lives. We joke and have fun with customers, and the lifeblood of our business is repeat customers and referrals.”
Gamss doesn’t like how some jewelry stores can feel intimidating to customers, or stuffy.
“We strive to be approachable, and we treat customers the same whether they’re coming in for a watch battery or a diamond ring,” he says.
Gamss started working at Rahl Jewelers in 1972 as a deliveryman, a position that soon moved to sales, then store manager, until eventually he had the opportunity to buy the store.
“I jumped at that opportunity,” he says. “About halfway through my time working with the previous owner I knew that was the direction my career was meant to be headed.”
Of course, no matter how many decades in the business, there’s always more to learn.
“There’s so much to know and I’ll never know everything, and that’s part of challenge and what makes it fun. If a customer asks for something new, or I see a stone that I don’t know, for example,” he says. “The customer experiences are new every day too. There’s always something fresh people want to design.”
Custom design is a big part of Gamss’ s business, and he’s proud of the way his designer, Tony Carone, works.
“He sits and works with the customer and talks through their ideas and gives them suggestions, then we carve a mold out of clay right there,” he says.
Other jewelry stores rely on catalogues or photos online when giving and receiving custom piece ideas, but Gamss prefers the hands on approach.
“We create something in three dimensions so they can actually see what it’s going to look like. They give us their ideas, and we tailor to what they want,” he says.
Rahl Jewelers also does all work in-house, from setting diamonds to fixing chains. They rarely send pieces out, which helps customers feel like their precious heirlooms are safe.
Aside from custom pieces, Rahl Jewelers specializes in engagement rings. He tries to find unique styles and pieces that aren’t cookie cutter, so his customers can have a diamond ring that feels completely unique to them. His jewelers can also work with customers to rework or add to a family or antique piece.
Between the employees, Rahl Jewelers holds 100 years of experience, and six decades in business.
“With that much experience, we can handle anything people need,” Gamss says.
One of these employees happens to be Gamss’s son Ryan, who is a diamond graduate gemologist and has been with the business for about five years. Gamss says Rahl Jewelers is the family jeweler for many in the Barrington area, and he and his wife Nancy, who is also a big part of the business, are excited to be continuing the family tradition within the store as well.
Rahl Jewelers is located at 3001 Barrington Road in Hoffman Estates, 847-765-3000, rahljewelers.com.