Alexander Khvalsky, 41
Owner, Alexanders Jewelers
689 N. High St., Short North
Obviously you're a jewelry store, but would you tell us about what you offer?
We have very unique products. It's a jewelry store that is designed in a boutique fashion. Everything is done where the owner and customer have a one-on-one relationship. I find out exactly what they're looking for.
After 16 years of doing this... I've selected the best companies that would be of very good quality and would be affordable.
You also offer custom pieces. Would you talk about that process?
I want to find out what is their budget, what is it they want to spend? Then I basically just go from there. Once they give me a price, then I give them the best money can buy. It's a family owned store... I try to cut down the price as much as I can.
Speaking of money, you say you don't actually mind making nothing off a first sale. Why?
I'm not in this business to make a one-time sale. Even if on the first sale, I don't make any money, that's totally fine with me. I'm looking for somebody who will basically be my customer for the rest of their life. Everything is very personalized here. Everybody knows each others' name. My customers, they trust me with my judgment, my opinion.
Your interest in jewelry started with watches. Can you talk about your selection?
Most of my watches are pre-owned. They're high-end watches Rolex, Cartier. And the watches that I do buy and put out for sale, they're all in pristine condition - the closest thing to new you can get without paying the full retail price. That's kind of my niche in the business. That's how I get a lot of higher-end customers. This is how I get the men in here. And once I give them a great deal on a watch, they will later come in and buy something for their wives.
You also carry some fashion jewelry, including pieces by Sharon Wei. Would you talk about her?
She's a local designer who's known nationwide.... She works with pearls, she works with emeralds - she works basically with colored gems. She does a lot of designer lines that are very affordable, that run anywhere from $180 to $400 or $500.
Where are you originally from?
What brought you here?
My mom. Basically, immigration for a better life.
Have you found that?
Absolutely. I'm very, very happy with this location... it's a perfect choice. This area has been booming. A lot of interesting people, a lot of culture, intellect. A lot of very unique people.
Kristy Eckert is the editor of Capital Style.