November '22

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 2 • G R A P H I C S P R O 6 1 highland games and asked John and Mary Jo to travel with them to promote the engraved products. "And we trundled along quite happily like that for the better part of two years," John says. During that time, John and Mary Jo also conducted self-pro- motion by visiting different Celtic stores in the area as well as by looking at Celtic-specific publications and mailing fliers. ey also attended a major Celtic buying show where they picked up more clients. RELOCATION AND STARTING FRESH However, by this time, many of John's clientele were leaving California, and Mary Jo's full-time job was ending. "It came to the point that we realized we were going to have to relocate," explains John. "We figured we were faced with at least a loca- tion change, and we thought we might as well make a complete change." He told his brother-in-law, who mentioned that there was a Celtic store in Lexington, Virginia, he did embroidery work for that was getting ready to retire and sell. John and Mary Jo vis- ited Lexington in late 2004, fell in love with the town, decided to relocate across the country, and bought the store — named Celtic Tides — in early 2005. "e store itself was existing, but it really was on its last legs," remarks John. "e owners had lost complete interest in running the store, there was very little inventory, and the community had basically lost faith in the store." John and Mary Jo decided to make the store into a broad- based Celtic shop, expanding the old inventory with jewelry, grocery items, custom apparel (supplied by Elser), and, of course, engraved products. "We just kept the store name," John says. "We kind of think it reflects both the waves of Scotts, Irish, and Welsh immigrants that moved over here, and hopefully evokes the memories of people who have been to Scotland and Ireland who remember seeing the tides coming in on the islands and cliffs." ey also made the decision to stay open seven days a week — including Sundays. "At that time, we were one of the very few businesses in town that was open on a Sunday," explains John. "But we had to get people to realize that we were there, and we Celtic history provides a lot of opportunities for product personalization. A laser engraved guitar back, featuring Celtic imagery. Engraving of a clan crest.

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