Cashing in on career in coins- Longtime merchant turns boyhood hobby into lifetime profession

Written by Contributor. Posted in Community News & People in the News, Featured

Published on May 31, 2017 with No Comments

by Steve Euvino

Arthur Knight poses at the counter of his downtown Hobart business, Knight Coin & Jewelry. The longtime business buys and sells coins, jewelry, antiques, and other collectibles.

What started out as a hobby of his youth has turned into a lifetime career for Arthur Knight, and what became an attraction to one city has become his home.

Knight, 73, is the owner of Knight Coin & Jewelry in downtown Hobart. The business, which has known several locations, offers coins, diamonds, antique watches, jewelry, stamps, and other collectibles – bought, sold, or appraised.

It all started during Knight’s high school and college days, when he bought and sold coins locally. After earning degrees in business and geography from Valparaiso University in 1965, Knight opened his first business at 29 E. 5th Avenue in Gary the following year.

Knight Coin & Jewelry is located in a former bank building and jewelry shop at Third and Main streets in downtown Hobart.

Having started his business in downtown Gary in 1966, Knight moved to a former bank building in Hobart at 301 Main St. in 1972. He remained at that location until 1996, when he moved across the street to another former bank site at 237 Main.

“I was from Gary, but I always loved Hobart,” said Knight, who would stay with a cousin from Hobart during the summer. “I loved the big trees and landscape in Hobart.”

He also liked the old bank buildings in downtown Hobart. Besides marble counters, they also had vaults, which someone handling valuable merchandise can always use.

Knight also liked the closeness of the community. During his meeting with the late property owner Chuck Smith, Knight recalled Smith greeted nearly a dozen people in a two-block area.

Knight not only moved his business to Hobart, but he made his home there. A widower, he has two children, John, an Indianapolis resident, and Bridget, living in Chicago, and one grandchild.

“I like the friendliness of Hobart,” the business owner said. “When you like something, that’s where you stay.”

Over the years, Knight has seen his share of downtown Hobart businesses come and go. Yet that coin and jewelry shop on the corner of Third and Main is still there. What’s Knight’s secret?

“We offer personal service – not like a big mall,” Knight said. “Also, Hobart’s such a nice place to be. Everybody knows everybody. We get a lot of regular customers, and a lot of our business comes by word of mouth. Most of our referrals are done that way. We also have older customers whose sons and other relatives now come in.”

Knight also knows his clientele – what they want and how they shop. His business, which also has a location in Lansing, Ill., uses the Internet and eBay to attract clients who may be interested in rare and pricier items.

“Go with what people do,” Knight advised.

Having also seen his fellow merchants succeed while others failed, Knight believes in integrity. “I’m here for the long run,” Knight said, “not for the quick hit.”

Knight feels “very positive” about the changes in downtown Hobart, including the lakefront development. The community is awaiting the opening of two new downtown restaurants, and Knight has two rental buildings that are filled by “solid people.”

After more than five decades of buying and selling, Knight continues to promote his business. He advertises in 10 different publications for coins or unusual items.

“You have to know what’s going to work in your store and who’s going to buy what,” said Knight, who used to do trade shows 30 years ago. That schedule, he said, got to be too much over the years. When he isn’t at the Hobart location, he’s at the Lansing store.

Knight, who said he plans to stay in business another 20 years, noted, “Six days a week is enough.”

Knight Coin & Jewelry is located at 237 Main St. in Hobart. The shop is open five days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Sundays and Wednesdays. For more information, call 219-942-4341 or visit www.knightcoin.com.



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