Tommy Knockers: a local business for 31 years
February 1, 2008
Longtime owners of the family business Tommy Knockers, the Johnsons have lived in Park City a lot longer than most Parkites. Stan and Jill Johnson and their son, Clark Johnson, moved to Park City in the late 70s after purchasing a vacation home in Park City in 1965.
The Johnsons opened Tommy Knockers Custom Jewelry Store on Main Street in 1976, where they sold and exhibited several southwestern artists’ jewelry. Tommy Knockers recently celebrated its 30th anniversary in Park City, after moving to the Redstone Towne Center three years ago.
Clark’s father, Stan, was working as an architect for the University of Utah and Jill ran a Montessori school in Bountiful before the family moved to Park City.
After they moved, Jill decided to open a jewelry store in Park City to exhibit her friend’s jewelry. Soon after, her husband, Stan, became interested in the jewelry trade.
Stan and Clark started learning jewelry smithing after taking several classes at the Kimball Art Center when Clark was 14. Soon after, they created their own jewelry design company, "C&S Designs," short for Clark and Stan Johnson.
Stan eventually switched from designing jewelry part-time to full-time and began selling his jewelry in his wife’s store.
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Clark looks back on the many years his family business has been a part of Park City.
"We were one of the first [students] at the Kimball Art Center classes," Clark said of himself and his father. "We’ve seen pretty much the whole story [of Park City]."
Clark’s parents ran Tommy Knockers for about 15 years. After Clark graduated with an urban planning degree from the University of Utah, he went to work for a consulting firm, but said he did not find the satisfaction he found running the family business and designing jewelry with his father.
"I worked for Ralph Becker, but I decided after spending a summer with a consulting firm that [I wanted] to work for my dad and decided to go for it," Clark said.
Clark applied for an SBA loan and increased the Tommy Knockers business, adding a studio in the store on Main Street.
In 1999, Clark and his wife, Christie, purchased the business from his parents and have been running Tommy Knockers ever since.
The couple recently opened a small Tommy Knockers shop at Snowbird Resort in the tram building.
"The main idea with the Snowbird store is to really feature our own work," Clark said, adding that the Park City store carries a variety of other jewelry designers.
The difference between other local jewelers and Tommy Knockers, Clark said, is because Tommy Knockers has been around for so long, it understands the local customers’ needs.
"I have talked to a lot of customers about their experiences at other stores," Clark said. "I pay attention to what they like and what they don’t like and [a lot of customers] say they didn’t feel like they were a part of the whole process [at other jewelry stores]. I wanted to provide a service where the customer could design [their jewelry]."
Clark said he works with all designs, from contemporary to classic, and pays attention to local tastes.
"We make things that are really durable for people with active lifestyles," Clark said.
For years, Clark has used a computer software called "Cad-Cam," an animated jewelry designing system that allows him to customize each piece of jewelry. The system creates 3-D and high resolution renderings of the jewelry for customers to view and modify before it is molded and manufactured.
Clark said he consults with each customer to make sure they get exactly what they are looking for.
"We’ll work with the customer to [do] either new designs or remodels," Clark said. "When I do a job, I break the project down line by line."
Clark specializes in jewelry, fine gifts and collectibles, using gold, platinum, sterling silver, diamonds and gemstones.
The store also carries fine jewelry lines from Lladro, Armani, Harmony Kingdom, John Atencio, Swiss Army watches and more.
Clark and Christie Johnson live in Pinebrook with their two children, Patrick, 12, and Olivia, 8.
Tommy Knockers officially relocated from its Main Street location to the Redstone Towne Center three years ago.
The new Tommy Knockers Custom Jewelry store is located at 1675 W Redstone Center Drive. For more information or to see design examples, visit http://www.tommyknockers.net or call 649-7333.