By Marisa Palombi, Manayunk Development Corporation Fall Intern
Norma Mann is no stranger to the Manayunk area. She and her husband Gary have been creating and selling custom jewelry on Main Street, for over the past 25 years. When you stop into their store, Gary Mann Jewelers, it becomes quite clear that both she and Gary know exactly what they're doing. We were fortunate enough to sit down with Norma for our One-on-One Interview and not just talk shop! Now, you are cordially invited to get to know Norma Mann as more than the experienced and exquisite jeweler from Manayunk!
1. What is your favorite stone or gem? Why? Knowing this would be tough to answer, Norma narrowed down her contenders. "Diamonds and rubies," she responded after a few moments of pondering all of the endless possibilities. "I love all beautiful, intriguing, magnificently cut fine gem stones. But me, I go with diamonds or rubies."
2. If you could be any piece of jewelry, what would it be? Why? Her response reflects her funky and unique style and sense of self. "I would be a brooch, you can style and create any outfit with a amazing diamond pin," said Norma. She elaborated on how a brooch can transform any outfit, from a simple black dress to a ladies' tuxedo.
3. What is your favorite part of your job? Norma seemed to gush over the passion and love she has for her job. Aside from talking, bonding, and connecting with her customers, Norma really loves the actual process of collaborating while assisting in the selection or customization of her customer's jewelry purchases. "I love the pleasure, anticipation, excitement and even relief, that the customer has while when have completed the process together, and they leave the store, with an extraordinary piece of jewelry, either to wear themselves, or give to a loved one, " explained Norma.
4. Did you ever sell a piece of jewelry that you secretly wanted to keep for yourself? If so, what was it? "All of the time!" laughed Norma. "However, I like to tell myself if I really want something, 'there's always more where that came from!''
5. What is your favorite thing to do in your free time? Between running a business with her husband and raising a family, Norma still finds time in her busy schedule to entertain and cook for her friends. "My husband and I, and all of our friends, love to get together, entertain, and cook, and of course, drink wine. . .” She explained how she has a big family and a busy life, but enjoys finding time and energy for her other passions.
6. What is your favorite food to cook?
"I don’t really bake, but enjoy all other kinds of cooking," said Norma. She went on to explain that part of her cooking and entertaining hobbies stem from her love of "tablescaping." For anyone who wasn't aware, tablescaping includes decorating her table with different linens, dishes, glassware and trinkets that she has either collected herself, or things that have been given to her from family and friends! She says every time she sets a table, the inspiration and vision is different.
7. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why? Charmingly, Norma responded with a power that any business owner should desire. "I would like a power that told me exactly when my customers would be here." She explained how this would free up her schedule a bit, leaving her with more free time to spend with family and friends.
8. If you could only wear one piece of jewelry for the rest of your life, besides your wedding ring, what would you choose? "I couldn't choose. I am way too fickle. It's odd because I can be such a creature of habit, especially when certain jewelry becomes comfortable, and part of my every day expression. But I'll go through phases of always wearing certain pieces, and then out of nowhere, I'll switch it up."
9. If you could snap your fingers and end up anywhere in the world, where would you go? Being the family woman that she is, Norma responded selflessly. "I would go to Los Angeles. I would love to see my son, who is celebrating his birthday and having a party." She joked about crashing his birthday party, but was heartfelt about wanting to hand him his birthday gift in person.
10. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not, living or dead, with who would it be? After much consideration, Norma was able to narrow it down to three people. "Beyonce. Amal Clooney. or Gwyneth Paltrow." However, she went on to explain the reality behind the question. "Everyone has issues behind the glamorous life, so regardless; you have to be careful what you wish for."
Getting to know Norma on a more personal level was a pleasure! Having a ten question window into her life demonstrated just how much of her heart and soul is poured into her business, family, and friends. Although she is busy, she is more than accommodating and welcoming when it comes to the business aspect of her life. The next time you step into Gary Mann Jewelers, you will without a doubt be greeted by a business owner who is passionate about her product, her business and loves her customers!