It's a family affair at . Founder Larry Exum works alongside his wife, Bryan, and daughter, Chandlee, in the Oconee County store, located at 1850 Epps Bridge Parkway.
Patch: When did you start your business?
Larry: 1980, September. The temperature was 73 degrees, the sun was out, and I was wearing a business casual light blue shirt and dark blue slacks.
Patch: Why jewelry? Why this business?
Larry: I love the idea of love and I practice it daily. Each day at work in this business is a pleasure, as I get to share and be involved in the happiest times of all my clients lives. Also I had, as a child, cherished amethyst geodes that I found on our family farm in south Georgia.
Patch: What is your favorite thing about your business?
Larry: Having my immediate family work with me on a daily basis. We obviously HAVE to like each other to be together constantly.
Patch: What is the most challenging part about running a business?
Larry: Dealing with over-intrusive governments, rules, and regulations which take time away from the core reason for being in business.
Patch: What are your long-term goals for Chandlee Jewelers?
Larry: To keep doing what I love most, as long as my legs can propel me, as long as my mind is not fogged with dementia, as long as my children will allow me, and to build a future for my children and grandchildren.
Patch: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start a new business in Oconee County?
Larry: First, Oconee is worlds better than Clarke County. Second, make sure that there is enough venture capital available to survive for the first 5 years without taking a personal income. Most businesses (anywhere) fail in the first 3-5 years because they do not start with enough money to make up for the mistakes ALL new business owners make until they learn not what they want to think their business is but what the customers PERCEIVE their business to be.
Chandlee Jewelers is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
NOTE: The hours of operation have been updated.