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The Clockmakers at Creative Clock Service Center have almost 60 years combined experience specializing in the repair and restoration of mechanical clocks. Our exceptional knowledge base allow us to provide you with the best timepiece for your family on any budget, with the most comprehensive customer support in the industry.
We can also repair your existing grandfather, wall or mantel clock, old or new.
When you bring or ship your clock to us, we will happily provide you with an immediate, accurate, and free estimate.
All repairs are guaranteed for two years.
We also sell clock parts and service kits for those who wish to oil their own timepieces. Contact us if you need help locating a specific part.
In 1981, JD Olson opened a small clock repair shop in Coos Bay, Oregon. Having spent almost twenty years collecting and repairing his own clocks and those of friends and family, his passion for clocks had finally grown beyond what could be contained in his home. The shop quickly became a popular feature of the southern Oregon coast.
In 1983, JD and his wife Jeannie relocated to Eugene and opened their first retail showroom. Their approach was unique; by offering steep discounts in what had previously been considered a luxury niche of the furniture business (with its correspondingly high retail markup), the Olsons made heirloom quality clocks accessible to the masses. The goal was to build a long-term loyal customer base, even if it meant lower short-term profits.
The formula worked. The shop outgrew its location several times, eventually becoming the largest purveyor of new clocks west of the Mississippi.
Focusing on service meant JD had his hands full. He began formally training his son Ron Olson in 1991 in the art of clock restoration, and by 1994 Ron was managing most of the repair operations. Clockmakers Wyatt Lazenby and Richard Bonse joined the team in 1995 and 1997 respectively. Wyatt eventually retired and has sadly passed on, while Ron and Richard remain with us to this day.
The advent of the internet has radically changed the nature of the clock industry, as it has all business. While most family owned independent clock retailers have faded away, we have embraced the new opportunities to serve new customers outside our Pacific Northwest base. We now ship clocks daily all around the world, and we cover a huge territory with our repair services. In our hearts though, we are still operating with the same passion that moved our founder to open that first little shop so many years ago.
If J.D. Olson had things his way, every home would have a grandfather clock. "Most people think of grandfather clocks as a luxury, right up there with the Rolls Royce and the mink coat," he says. "I think of them as a necessity. Everyone should have a bed, a grandfather clock and a refrigerator, in that order."
That's the kind of thinking that has made Creative Clock one of the largest outlets for new clock sales in the state of Oregon.
J.D. and Jean Olson stock a large selection of Charles R. Sligh top-of-the-line grandfathers, Sligh Legacy clocks, Howard Miller clocks, Decor brand, and Ansonias. When Seth Thomas was still making floor clocks, Creative Clock was their biggest account in the state.
In 1987, Creative Clock was recognized by three of the top grandfather clock manufacturers - Seth Thomas, Howard Miller and Sligh - as their number one dealer in Oregon.
Olson said he's proud of the plaques and awards that he has received from the different clock companies, but joked, "My goal is to someday have a shop that is nice enough to make Watch and Clock Review!"
So far in 1990, sales are up significantly over 1989, the Olsons say, and in 1989 they did just under half a million. Soon, they expect to deliver their 1000th grandfather clock since opening the business as a full-time operation in 1983.
Fueling the spectacular increase in sales was their relocation a little over a year ago to a spot next to a large mall, Eugene's Valley River Center.
The Olsons don't just sell clocks, they offer charm and romance, and customers respond to that. Advertising copy and promotional flyers play on the public's nostalgia for simpler times and old-fashioned values. Describing itself as "The Little Ol' Clock Shop at Valley River," Creative clock presents a store front that puts customers in a nostalgic mood even before they enter the front door.
Out front is an 11?-foot-tall grandfather clock and a 19th century carriage, complete with an "Old Fashioned Values" sign.
Once inside, visitors can view a huge selection of clocks - including around eighty traditional grandfather clocks. In addition there is an impressive selection of fine watches.
Having worked their way through all the new clocks, customers enter the Legacy Room where Olson has built a little village of sorts where he has on display his private collection that is not for sale.
Display cases for the collection are designed like store fronts - a design based on what Olson remembers of his grandfather's old store in Tennessee back in the early 1940's.
The museum in the back of the shop is a great attraction for potential customers and clock industry people alike, and Olson's work has been rewarded with many complimentary comments on the display from visiting sales representatives and clock industry executives.
It was J.D.'s personal collection of clocks that got him into the business in the first place. A restaurant chain asked him to set up a display of antique clocks as a point of interest for their customers. J.D. had no intention of selling any of his prized clocks.
One evening a restaurant patron pulled out his billfold and offered $900.00 cash for a French clock on display. "I immediately wrote OPEN on a piece of cardboard with a felt-tip pen and put it in the window," J.D. says. Creative Clock has been OPEN ever since.
J.D.'s passion for clocks grew out of his interest in time, both as a scientific idea and a philosophical concept. "Time is the only absolute in our lives," he says. "That's always fascinated me."
He built his first "clock" when he was just a child, living on an Indian reservation in Arizona where his father was a missionary. There wasn't a lot to do and not much money so J.D. and his brothers would make their own toys.
"I remember taking a piece of wood about one-inch square and maybe nine inches long," he related, "and I tacked bingo chips onto the stick for wheels. Then I took the mechanism out of an old alarm clock that my father had thrown away and that was my machine. I loved to watch the wheel go back and forth, back and forth. My dad told me it sounded just like a John Deere tractor."
The mechanism that powers the clock is still J.D.'s first passion, and he loves to find better clocks for his customers where the quality of the mechanism matches the quality of the case.
The childhood tinkering with clocks developed into a life-long hobby of repairing and collecting clocks, a hobby that J.D. pursued while working in the advertising business.
J.D.'s clock collecting hobby brought many other good things into his life. He met his wife Jean when she came to one of his clock sales. "She bought two of my favorite clocks," he relates. "I not only got a really neat wife, I got my two clocks back."
Initially, J.D.'s merchandising philosophy was to discount prices to promote volume sales. Recently, he's moved away from the discount image, stocking a higher price product range ("I'm now big on Slighs and Legacies," he says), and he's brought in up-scale watches - about $75,000 worth of inventory.
Asked what he would like to do when he retires, J.D. says he'd like to have a little clock shop: "I would stock only the finest brands that money could buy. And I would try to merchandise them in such a way that everyone would want to have one and love it just the way I love clocks. Then in the back I would put in a little clock museum just for my customers to enjoy."
When it's pointed out that he's already done all this, he smiles and says, "Yes, but when I retire I will only be open six days a week, and will take a week off in the summer to go to Disneyland or some place like that."
Although he will shortly deliver his 1000th grandfather clock and the store did just under half a million in '89, J.D. still insists it's his "hobby" - a word that describes his attitude to the job: selling clocks is fun; it's not really working if you enjoy yourself. And J.D. Olson is certainly having "good times" (pun intended) at Creative Clock.
by Jayne Barrick, Watch & Clock Review