After successfully rebounding as a small business Crystal House's ambition again knows no bounds. Today we spoke with owner Elias Akwo while inside of the gallery at 59 S. LaSalle Street and he informed us of their new initiative. When we spoke of it, his eyes lit up and a huge smile came over his face. I was reminded of the way he beamed with pride during our interview when we asked him "how long have you been engraving?" It was the look of excitement.
The 'Support Crystal House' campaign was described simply as a campaign strategy to hire a new employee. Mr. Akwo's goal is to raise half of the salary for a new employee through sales. Upon doing so, the potential individual will be sourced through an online job posting and then interviewed and hired. Now that the store is open for regular Monday thru Friday business hours, Elias is doing his very best to increase foot traffic. Specials, deals and a robust social media campaign are his driving forces at the moment. As we spoke, customers started coming in so we had to break off our impromptu interview session.
When you walk into Crystal House I think the first thing noticeable is the elegance of the space. It's very well lit, the floor is impressive (and historic) and its bright! It has a 1950's ballroom kind of feel. The author is put in the mind of perhaps Louis Jordan or Cab Calloway. The selection of music coupled with the sparkle of fine crystal has an uncanny air of grandiosity. When you meet and speak with Mr. Akwo you feel grace and humility. The combination of emotions is pleasantly intoxicating. The #supportcrystalhouse campaign is to give back to the community. We were immediately impressed by it and decided to speak on it.
A customer inquired about repairing a plate, a family heirloom, that had been damaged. As she fidgeted with her car keys clearly anticipating bad news Mr. Akwo was calm and happy. He knew he could fix it. He knew it could be done. After having been told there was "no hope" and it was a "lost cause, the customer was prepared to be disappointed. What she found instead was someone wiling to help. She found someone who would take the time to do the job. He told her when she could expect the item to be ready; after thanking him profusely she left in a state of elation.
When she left I mentioned that I was unfamiliar that Crystal House fixed plates. He told me they don't. "The repair is very minor", he said. So minor that to other companies they'd regard it as a waste of their time. It would take him about 41 minutes to fix it, to the customer it's value is incalculable. It's because he's aware of the value of things to others that he relishes the opportunity to go above and beyond. That's what #supportcrystalhouse is all about.
If you're in Aurora in the downtown area you should definitely stop by and see the gallery. Get a gift for your brother or son, sit and chat, or learn about the art of engraving. Keep an eye out for specials & deals and especially the online store. Every order you make and place with the store goes to bringing on another employee. That, in turn, provides another individual with the opportunity to work, learn and acquire a new skill. That's how a community is built. By support.