Rock star retailer
Fascinated with rocks since a child, a Verona storeowner has made it into a second career.
Karen Edmund opened Minerals and More in Verona to feed a lifelong fascination with stones. Here, she holds a fluorite from Mexico, one of her favorites.
Photograph by Shawn Harper
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From the pages of In Business magazine.
Most people may not consider chasing their passion at the age of 50, but then neither did Karen Edmund, owner of Minerals and More in Verona’s Prairie Oak Center. “I never owned a store before this,” she notes.
After a long career as a vocational rehabilitation counselor in Minnesota, the Merrill, Wisconsin native moved to Madison and found a part-time job in 2004 at Relics, Fossils, and Rocks, a small rock shop at Westgate Mall. It was a good fit. “I’ve been collecting rocks since I was a little kid. In fact, my mom sent my rock collection along with me to college!”
When she later learned about their healing powers, it fueled that interest. Eventually, the store’s two owners and Edmund’s mentors asked her to become a partner. She agreed and later bought them out.
Relics closed in August 2015 and Edmund panicked. “I still didn’t have a new location.” Two leases she thought she had secured in Middleton had fallen through, and she was still seeking that perfect place.
Nearly three weeks before the store’s Nov. 1, 2015 launch, Edmund found the ideal location in Verona and turned it around fast. “It was very stressful,” she relates, adding that she couldn’t have done it without the support of friends and, she insists, some divine intervention.
Minerals and More is approaching its fourth anniversary and has been in the black since day one, Edmund says. “My saving grace was that I had an email list from Relics that I took with me with the names of close to 800 people.” Many, she says, followed her to Verona.
“My passion and happiness is in what I do, not necessarily in what I make. I think that’s what’s made my business successful.”
With the help of four employees, the store is open seven days a week, but it closes on every major holiday. “Rocks need a rest, and we do, too,” she smiles.
She also committed herself to running Minerals and More for 10 years. Considering her good health, she’s on track.
“When I came to Madison in 2004, I had no idea I’d be working in a rock shop, much less own one,” Edmund marvels. By the time she went off on her own, she was 62 and able to collect Social Security, which helped offset some major bills.
Edmund is in her happy place when surrounded by rocks, gemstones, fossils, and customers who appreciate it all. During this interview, she was sporting tourmaline quartz earrings and a matching ring, a fluorite bracelet, and carrying a rose quartz, a moldavite, and a garnet in her pocket to keep their natural energy close.
At Minerals and More, prices vary from tiny stones sold four for $1 to $7,995 for a 63-inch tall geode — an amethyst cathedral. “Every store needs three to four ‘wow’ items,” Edmund advises.