Jewelry protégée on her own

Marie Havenga • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:49 AM

So, when the 2012 Hope College graduate decided to open a business, she took a shining to the familiar. She recently opened What a Gem at 134 Washington Ave. in downtown Grand Haven.

Engels' grandfather founded Richard Engels Jewelers in Grandville in the 1930s. Her dad, Dennis, took over the business, and Carrie Anne spent much of her childhood surrounded by silver and gold.

“We decided to start something here in Grand Haven,” she said. “My dad is helping me get it all started, but I'm running it myself.”

Engels has the pedigree. As a child, she would make coffee for customers at the family jewelry store.

“I would take the trash out, clean the bathroom — I would do anything and everything,” the 2008 Grandville High School graduate said. “I think I started getting paid when I was a freshman in high school. I loved being around people and meeting people.”

That business aspect hasn't lost its luster.

“I have new people coming in all the time and you get to build relationships with people,” Engels said. “It's fun to help people buy something that they really want. I love that aspect of retail.”

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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