WASILLA — LFORGE Jewelers owner Corey Brassard has been busy throughout the pandemic. He said that a large reason behind this could have to do with the locally minded shoppers in the community.
“When you walk around Wasilla, I find that a lot of people have really sought out to shop local… People have really made a point of telling me, ‘we wanted to shop local. We wanted to go to a small, local business.’ So, we appreciate that,” Brassard said.
Brassard said that his store has managed to make it through the pandemic fairly well despite the various challenges in its wake.
“The jewelry industry as a whole, for whatever reason, is up for 2020, and I’ve stayed busy. I’ve been blessed to be able to stay busy,” Brassard said.
Brassard said that his business fills a specific niche and he’s built up a base of loyal customers over the years, and that could have played a role in keeping people coming through the doors.
“Like many businesses in Wasilla, it had an initial slow down and a lot of uncertainty. We worked very hard with people. Wasilla’s very diverse as far as people’s feelings about this and whatnot, so we try to respect everybody’s feelings. We have special appointment hours for folks who want to come in and not have to mingle with the masses so to speak,” Brassard said.
Regardless of the reason, Brassard is happy to keep doing what he loves, serving the community with a craft he’s been sharpening nearly all his life.
“I started doing this when I was 11 years old. My stepdad was in the business, and he encouraged me to come down; and within a very short period of time I was hands on. I’ve been doing it ever since. I just really enjoyed it. I enjoyed working with the metal and creating. It’s just one of those things that I recognized right away that I had a talent for it and I enjoyed doing it. It’s been a good career for me,” Brassard said.
Brassard opened his store nearly seven years ago. He said that he set out to start his own business with service at the core of his mission.
“Service was something that was really needed in the area,” Brassard said. “I think we’ve built a very loyal customer base, and we try to take the customer service side of this very seriously. We try to treat people right… I respect my customers, and I appreciate them, and I think that goes a long way,” he said.
There’s a selection of jewelry at the entrance of LFORGE Jewelers. Most of the items were crafted by Brassard or a local artist. He said that he makes it a point to highlight local creativity whenever he can, even if it’s not jewelry. He said that’s one of his favorite things about running his own business in the Valley.
Brassard said that most of his business revolves around his repair, restoration and custom jewelry work. He said that his projects vary by customer, but he takes a great deal of joy from restoring treasured heirlooms to their former glory and seeing how much it means to them.
“People are always needing something sized or repaired,” Brassard said. “I do all my work here. I don’t send anything out... That means a lot to some people. They can talk to the jeweler.”
Since it is spring, people across the nation are buying engagement rings or restoring ones that have been passed down in their families more frequently. Brassard said that his store is no exception to this national trend, and he’s been busy with a lot of bridal projects lately. He recently sent off a young man with a bridal ring.
“For a guy like that, self professed knows nothing about jewelry, he likes that he can come in and not be overwhelmed… It’s a rewarding process for me and for him, and his fiance now, who’s very satisfied with it,” Brassard said.
Looking forward, Brassard said that he’s hopeful for the future of his small business.
“2021 brings a lot of uncertainty for a lot of folks, small businesses as well, but all you can be is positive and keep working hard, and use the same formula that you’ve been using if it’s successful. I’m hoping 2021 continues positive for us, for everybody,” Brassard said.
LFORGE Jewelers is located at 500 North Main Street, Suite C in downtown Wasilla. For more information, call 907-232-9866.
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at email@example.com