MEDINA — Anneliese Nefos knows how to manage things.
She has raised swans and angora goats on a farm.
She served as chief of the household staff for Winston Churchill.
But what she finds most rewarding is helping people at her jewelry store.
“I just love what I’m doing,” she said. “I never thought that I would own my own jewelry store.”
Nefos, owner of Medina Gem Co., celebrated 25 years in business last week. The store is inside Towne Commons on Public Square.
Born in Switzerland, Nefos started designing jewelry when she was a teenager.
“I come from a very large family, and all I ever saw on my aunts and uncles were beautiful jewelry,” she said.
Nefos worked for Churchill and his wife from 1959 to 1961 and managed the staff at their estates in London and Kent.
“All the powerful, wealthy celebrities came,” she said.
After coming to the U.S., she raised goats and swans on a farm in Medina County.
She said she sold the farm 12 years ago because it was becoming too much to manage along with her store.
When she started the store, she shared a counter with her late husband’s camera shop on West Washington Street.
She said she started the business with $1,140.
“I never borrowed a single dollar from the bank,” Nefos said. “I just bought whatever I absolutely needed to conduct business.”
Everything in her shop is custom made and unique, and she does not sell mass-produced jewelry, Nefos said.
The store also specializes in remaking family heirlooms with a modern touch.
“I involve customers and find out what they would like,” she said.
Nefos employs two or three part-time staffers, depending on her need, she said.
Throughout her 25 years of owning a jewelry store, Nefos said she’s noticed that customers have become more educated about diamonds and other precious stones.
Even so, “there is still a relatively small percentage of the population who really knows what a custom-made piece looks like,” she said.
Nefos said mass-produced jewelry is almost always overpriced.
“In very rare instances, you are really getting what you are supposed to get for the price,” she said.
Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.