Can you picture 1976? America just celebrated its bicentennial, NASA just unveiled the first space shuttle, Rocky the movie was the highest grossing film of the year, and a recent high school graduate named Ken had just started his jewelry apprenticeship in the heart of Peoria.
In the early 80’s, Ken moved to Bloomington and crossed paths with Mark who was originally an Illinois State University teaching alumnus. Mark was a registered jeweler at the same store Ken did his repair work. Meanwhile, Bill, an Illinois State University Geology graduate, started working at a local jewelry store in Peoria as a Gemologist Appraiser. Eventually, the three became colleagues and decided to all start a store of their own.
In the fall of 1996, an article printed in the Pantagraph read “You won’t find a William Marken in William MarKen Jewelers, but you will find William, Mark, and Ken. …Each of the three co-owners has 20 years of experience in jewelry and retail sales in Bloomington-Normal, Peoria, and Pekin.” And their journey began. Their dream of owning their own store on College Avenue in Normal became a reality. In 2007, they moved to their current location in Bloomington: “The diamond-shaped building.”
And here we are today, celebrating 20 years as William MarKen Jewelers! We couldn’t have done it without all of our loyal customers! Thank you!