When Russian immigrants Semyon and Alina Ilyashov opened Timekeepers in 1981 they had little more than two showcases containing two watches, and a dream.
Now landmarks, their two antique jewelry and watch stores today host one of the largest selections of timepieces and fine jewelry in the St. Louis region. On November 5 the Ilyshov family commemorates 30 years of hard work, dedication and success with a special day-long celebration at both locations, open to the general public.
The Ilyshovs arrived in the United States with their two young daughters, Ella and Lena, in 1979. Bringing with them skills Semyon gained as an apprentice for a clock maker in Russia, they worked odds-and-ends jobs in hopes of opening a watch repair store. Within two short years, Semyon and Alina opened Timekeepers in University City.
At first, Semyon focused on repairing watches and clocks – working both directly with the customer and through contract work for other jewelers. As the customer base grew, so did their services. “Over the years we built upon our family’s generations of experience in buying, selling and appraising in order to expand the services we offered to our own customers, many of whom have been with us from the beginning,” said Semyon.
To accommodate growth, Timekeepers opened its Clayton location in 1997, and in 1999, relocated the University City store to a larger space in Olivette. What started as two, near-empty cases is now two stores full of treasures waiting to be discovered. Breathtaking antique and vintage pieces range from fine jewelry and watches to grandfather clocks and pianos, all of unmatched style and elegance.
Other than adding additional expert staff, very little has changed since the opening of Timekeepers 30 years ago. Alina still handles the finances, Semyon repairs the watches and clocks, and the next generation continues the family trade.
Timekeepers thrives as a family-owned and operated business under the management of Ella and her sister Rachel, the first member of the Ilyshov family born in the United States. In addition to learning first-hand from their father, both graduated from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America with a GIA Graduate Gemologist diploma. Rachel also went on to study the art of hand engraving in Austria for three months.
As buyers for Timekeepers, Ella and Rachel guarantee that each one-of-a-kind piece is the highest of quality.
“Many of our customers travel to St. Louis from across the Midwest because they know they can trust us,” said Rachel. “They have confidence our items are backed by expert appraisal and are convinced that our selection rivals that of any other store.
In fact, at any given time we have as many as 100 antique or pre-owned Rolex watches.”
Timekeepers’ 30th anniversary celebration takes place November 5 at 9495 Olive Blvd. in Olivette and at 17 N. Meramec Ave. in Clayton.
As a thank you to new and existing customers for being an integral part of the company’s success, visitors on that day will receive a voucher for 10 percent off any purchase through the end of the year. Light snacks will be provided.
For more information about Timekeepers, call the Olivette store at 314-991-0994 or visit www.timekeepersstl.com.
Information provided by Musen, Steinbach, Weiss Public Relations.