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Photo by Fred Pollard
The Kristin’s Hair Studio team, from left: stylists Taylor St. Peters, Mandi Hartsock, Michelle Flinn and owner Kristin Gowin (seated).
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Photo by Fred Pollard
Jim Meyer, owner of Meyer Jewelry Studio, shows a portion of his display. Meyer has been a jeweler for 40 years.
WOOD RIVER – Jim Meyer and Kristen Gowin are ensuring the area looks good from head to toe.
Meyer is the owner of Meyer Jewelry Studio, while Gowin is the proprietor of Kristen’s Hair Studio. The father-daughter duo operate their businesses together at 40 E. Ferguson downtown, the former site of Smits Flowers.
FROM TRAGEDY TO TRIUMPH
Just three days after the purchase of the building in 2013, Jim Meyer received devastating news. Learning that he had blood and bone cancer and would need to begin treatments right away did not exactly fall into his business plan.
“The timing was not great, to say the least,” Meyer said.
With the support of friends and family, he fought and won his battle with cancer. In remission since December, he says he is glad now to be able to focus on the business he loves.
“This is like a new beginning for all of us,” his daughter, Kristin Gowin said. “I became a mom, the salon switched its product line, Dad finished his cancer treatments, and we both have a great new home for our businesses.”
MEYER JEWELRY STUDIO
Jim Meyer went to Gem City College in Quincy, Ill., and then worked as an apprentice to a silversmith for a year before moving back to the area and opening his own shop.
Meyer Jewelry Studio has been in business in one form or another for 40 years. Jim opened his first shop in downtown Alton in 1975, moved to Eastgate Plaza and then Alton Square in the 1980s, and followed with a stint as a wholesale jeweler from 1998 until 2011.
He moved into the current location last year.
“We originally opened up for just Kristin’s shop here, but she said everyone was coming in asking where I was, so I ended up opening my business back up here,” he said.
The studio offers an assortment of engagement rings, wedding bands, ear rings and more for all price ranges, one-of-a-kind hand-crafted jewelry, custom art jewelry in silver and gold, batteries, and in-house jewelry repair.
“I use a LaserStar laser, which is something a lot of stores do not have,” Meyer said. “That equipment runs about $30,000 and allows you to work on all types of metal.”
Jim also specializes in “handmade memory jewelry” made from old buttons, coins, cufflinks, pictures and more.
“We have made jewelry out of World War II coat buttons, gold teeth, a lot of different and unusual things,” he said. “I do all of my own work. I also do work for some art galleries, and I belong to Jacoby Arts Center.”
Meyer Jewelry Studio is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, visit the website at www.meyerjewelrystudio.com or call (618) 251-5151.
KRISTEN’S HAIR STUDIO
When it comes to the styling industry, Kristen Gowin says taking the customer seriously is the foundation for a successful business.
“We specialize in consultation and listening to our client,” Gowin said. “We listen to what they have to say, and we back it up with our education. I constantly have people tell me, ‘I am so glad to find someone who listens to me, and does what I wanted, not what they thought should be done.’”
Gowin’s salon recently switched its product line, now offering Paul Mitchell products. She says one advantage in the change is that the new line offers ongoing education to its salons.
“We are really big on education,” she said. “Since December, we have taken a color class, an updo class, and I just took a makeup class.”
Gowin became interested in doing hair in high school, and went to Alvareita’s College of Cosmetology after graduation. After working for several salons, she took her father’s advice and opened up her own business in downtown Wood River in April 2008, at the age of 22.
In March 2013, she purchased the old Smits Flowers location down the street and along with stylists Taylor St. Peters, Mandi Hartsock and Michelle Flinn, ushered in a new era for her studio.
“This is a better location,” she says. “We have the walkway, and we have great back lot parking.”
The salon also features a “pick of the month” product. March’s selection is the Paul Mitchell express dry wash.
Kristen’s Hair Studio is open 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, with other hours by appointment.
Walk-ins are welcome. For more information, visit www.khstudio.com or call (618) 254-1717.