Since opening in 2003, TJ’s Rocks & Gemcrafts in Downingtown has become the place to go for crystals. (Update: Tom passed away Jan 31, 2021 but the business continues with his wife Sherry)
From Tom: So how did I get started in the rock business? I was about 8 years old and living in Buffalo, New York when my Dad and his friend decided they wanted to look for uranium in the Adirondack mountains in upstate New York. During the exploration for uranium it was necessary to blast the mountain to see what was under the ground. After the blast I would run up and look for any crystals that were uncovered from the blast. It was amazing how beautiful the crystals were when they first came out of the ground; I was hooked!
Some of the crystals we found were; 24 sided garnet balls, gem quality, black schoal tourmaline, watermelon tourmaline, rose quartz, smoky quartz and many other types of minerals. As the years passed by, my father eventually opened a mineral store in Upper Darby for a few years but then decided he wanted to “retire” down by the shore in Ocean City, NJ. He had his store in Ocean City until he passed away in 1981. During those years I would assist him in buying minerals and work in the store to help him. In 1974 I was lucky to find my life’s partner (my wife Sherry) and we started out doing a little rock business ourselves. Our first attempt in selling minerals was at Phil’s Flea Market in West Chester. Our older son was less than a year old and he would go with us to the shows and play in his playpen while we talked with everyone.
Also in 1974 I was fortunate to start my career as a polymer chemist at Rohm and Haas company. I was with Rohm and Haas for 30 years, retiring in 2003. At this time I knew I could not just sit around, so I opened up a small retail shop at Simply Storage in Downingtown. After 5 years we had the opportunity to move to our present address in a full time store operation and the doors opened up September, 2008. We have been blessed that the community has frequented our store and we have seen increased growth each year we have been here; for that I thank everyone.