Forty years ago, St. John’s Jewelers opened in Ellicott City’s St. John’s Plaza. Twenty years ago, the shop moved into its own space on Route 40.
But much else about St. John’s Jewelers remains the same. It is still a boutique, niche jewelry shop. And it is still very much a family business.
Irwin Farber, now 89, and his wife, Charlotte, 84, started the business in 1973, moving from the Historic Ellicott City shop where he had worked as a watchmaker into their own space. Both still work at the shop: Irwin part time fixing watches, Charlotte keeping the books.
Their daughter, Linda, worked at the store as a child, but left Maryland after high school, traveling to Florida for college, then to California for a degree in gemology. But she returned after several years to work again at the family business. And now, at 52, Linda Miller is president of the store.
Two of her daughters also work at the shop: Margaux Winnard, 22, a part-timer doing social media and sales, and Nicolette Miller, 15, a summer employee.
“We’re a full-service jewelry store, but we’re a niche store -- very boutiquey,” Miller says.
“As a second-generation jeweler and growing up in a store, I saw firsthand how important my parents’ dedication was to the success of St. John’s Jewelers. I will always remember their strong work ethic and commitment to each and every customer as I continue to grow my business with my daughters.” -- Linda Miller
Tip of the trade:
“Before my customers make a buying decision, I feel the best service and advice I can give them is education about what they are buying. Whether they are buying [or] designing an engagement ring or resetting a stone, I tell them everything they need to know so they can make an educated decision.” -- Linda Miller
When Larry Moore and his daughter Lynn -- then fresh out of high school -- planted their first acre of strawberries at their Woodbine farm, the family already had been farming for more than a century.
Moore’s grandfather was a farmer in Baltimore County when, after an especially bountiful crop of turnips, he bought 127 acres on Berger Road in Howard County and planted an orchard.
When his son, Larry Moore, took over the farm in the late 1940s, he started a dairy farm. And when The Rouse Co. bought that farm in the early 1960s to build Columbia, Larry Moore bought 250 acres of farmland at the family farm’s current site on Woodbine Road.
It was 1973 when Lynn Moore and her father planted that first acre of strawberries. Over the ensuing 40 years, Larriland Farm has evolved and expanded into an extensive pick-your-own fruits and vegetables business, featuring everything from strawberries, blackberries and peaches to spinach, beets and pumpkins.
Lynn Moore, 58, is now president of Larriland Farm. Her brothers, Guy and Fenby, are vice presidents. Her husband also works on the farm, as do the Moore siblings’ several children, at least during the summer -- and at least for now.
“The next generation is still in the ‘looking-around-at-life’ stage,” Lynn Moore says of the family’s future in farming. “They all know it’s their own choice -- and they all know they’re all welcome here.”
Tip of the trade:
“Pay attention. Don’t just plant something and expect it to bear fruit a few months later. Pay attention throughout the process -- even in the dormant season.” -- Lynn Moore
“What I learned from my dad is that it is very important to be honest, and to do the job correctly and at the right time. Timing is everything.” -- Lynn Moore
Eyre Bus, Tour & Travel
Eyre Bus, Tour & Travel, the Glenelg business that now serves 800,000 passengers a year, began 65 years ago with a single used school bus.
“My dad bought it from his uncle,” recalls Ron Eyre, 67, who took over as company president 25 years ago when his father retired. “My mom was the first female school bus driver in Howard County.”
In the following half-dozen decades, more school buses were added before the company shifted to the bus tour business and, in the 1970s, the commuter business, ferrying workers back and forth between the growing city of Columbia and Washington, D.C., and Baltimore.
Today, about 65 percent of Eyre’s business is charters and tours, and the remaining is commuter contracts with the state. The company owns 58 coaches, employs about 125 people and is a full-service travel agency as well.
Still, it’s a family business: Ron Eyre remains CEO, and his oldest son, Matthew, 38, took over as president two years ago.
Tip of the trade:
“My dad taught me to keep in touch with your customers. There are going to be problems in this business -- human errors, mechanical errors. The owner should always be the one reaching out, making the call to customers.” -- Matthew Eyre
“It’s all about the people and the employees -- recognizing them and appreciating them for what they do.” -- Matthew Eyre