A unique business has opened on Adams Street in downtown Fairmont; Curiosity Clockworks is a shop that specializes in the repair and sale of antique clocks. Business partners Greg Carruba and Carl Witt opened their clock shop in June.
The two specialize mainly in repairing antique clocks, but also work on Quartz clocks as well as new ones. The downtown business is open Mondays and Saturdays, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Wednesdays, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Though the store is closed to customers on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, Carruba and Witt are hard at work repairing grandfather clocks in customers’ homes around the area. They realize that grandfather clocks are much too large and heavy to just drop off, so they have set aside certain days of the week specifically for that sort of repair.
“What we do is we go to your house; we’ll take the movement out of the case of your grandfather clock and bring it back to our shop. We will oil and repair it, then let it run for a couple weeks to make sure it works. Then, we will return it to your house and put it back in the case and make sure it is running correctly and keeping time.”
Smaller clocks can be fixed right in the store.
Curiosity Clockworks has a set rate for their clocks. They are priced by type, grandfather, mantle or wall, and quartz, which are priced on a case-by-case basis.
“Most of the time it is as simple as needing a spring. Sometimes people over-wind them, something like that,” Carruba added.
The two got their start in clock repairs when Witt completed a three-year apprenticeship with a tradesman out of Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania. Later following Witt’s apprenticeship, he and Carruba joined forces and have been in business from their homes over the course of the last several years. With the influx of business, the merchants purchased a building and went right to work establishing a storefront.
“We decided that it had gotten to the point that we were too busy to work from our homes, so we bought a shop in downtown Fairmont in the Historical District,” explained Carruba.
The building in which their store operates is nearly as unique as the business itself. The building was formerly an alley, but in 1912 it was enclosed to house a jewelry store. The building is only 10 feet wide, but a whopping 80 feet long! It is a small, one-story building sandwiched between two larger buildings. Carruba mentioned that their customers often marvel at this feature of their business.
Over the century, it has been home to a number of businesses. But in 1986, the structure was abandoned altogether until recently when Carruba and Witt got their hands on it. Prior to Curiosity Clockwork’s opening in June, the building was fully restored by the two as it had nearly fallen in.
In addition to the antique clocks on display inside, which are for sale, Witt and Carruba have added some local artifacts to their shop. Furniture from the old bank, a card catalog from the former library, and a portrait of Mr. Hartley from Hartley’s Department Store, all of Fairmont, can be admired in the store. Other items are in the process of being added.
Carruba commented that since their establishment, their business has really soared.
“We have been doing this for almost 8 years now. We bought a building and restored it because we wanted to be a part of the community. We wanted customers to feel secure about leaving their family heirloom with us. When we had this business in our homes, customers were a little leery about giving us something to work on that had been in the family for years. We thought if we had a storefront, people would feel more secure about their clocks.”
In fact, the business expanded so terrifically that they actually had to halt advertising due to the high volumes of clocks needing to be repaired. Like any machine, clocks get dirty and need oiled and repaired. They eventually just wear out. And, according to Carruba, the clock-fixing can take some time.
“It isn’t like we just sit down and fix a clock; we have a special machine that cleans them. We oil them. Then we figure out what is wrong. It could be a broken spring, but sometimes it just takes a while to repair them.”
The results seem to be quite promising.
“I can’t tell you how many people have come in since we have opened and said how long they have been needing someone to work on their clocks. We work really hard to keep our prices low so people can afford to come in and get their clocks repaired.”
Carruba said that several of their customers hold sentimental value to the clocks they want fixed. He said some of the clocks are not necessarily worth a lot of money, but they are simply family heirlooms and hold sentiment.
“Many of our customers entrust us with their clocks and I can’t tell you how happy they are when they get the clock back and it’s chiming on the half-hour or hour. It’s like it sparks a memory in people,” Carruba concluded.
For more information about having a clock repaired, contact Curiosity Clockworks at 304-288-4570. Visit them on the web at www.curiosityclockworks.com or find them on Facebook.