Longtime Clarendon Hills business keeps up with the times
Jason Matthiesen, vice president of Chicago Clock Company in Clarendon Hills, looks over some of the clocks on display. | Chuck Fieldman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 8, 2012 8:16AM
Jason Matthiesen and his father, Andrew, aren’t hiding any secrets about the biggest reason for their success in operating the Chicago Clock Company.
Jason, 44, is the fourth generation of his family that has operated the business, which was started in Chicago in 1917 and opened in 1977 at 431 Ogden Ave. in Clarendon Hills. The business also has locations in Palatine and Orland Park. Jason is the company’s vice president; his father is president.
“The key is that we run it like a business,” Matthiesen said. “It’s all about customer service, follow through and commitment to our customers. We want to make sure that every person who comes in is happy.”
Those who do come into Chicago Clock Company are bound to be impressed with the large selection of clocks and watches.
Chicago Clock offers a variety of clock styles and deals with more than 250 manufactures, including Howard Miller, Chelsea, Rhythm, Sligh and Seiko.
Matthiesen said he doesn’t recall anyone coming in and not being able to get what they want, either immediately at the store, or by having it ordered.
“We usually have a source for about everything,” Matthiesen said. “We have about 1,000 different clocks and watches and have sources for about anything else someone might want.”
Matthiesen said probably the biggest changes over the years are the modern twists to traditional clock styles that have been made possible because of technology and an increase in the use of clocks for home decoration.
“Musical clocks are very popular, and we have some with 16 different songs on them,” Matthiesen said. “Clocks have become a nice home accessory, too. They are functional, but more people look now for a clock that will look nice in their home.”
While clocks and watches fill the storefront visible to those who walk into Chicago Clock, half of the company’s business is behind the scenes.
“About half of our business is repairs,” Matthiesen said. “We have very experienced technicians who are able to pretty much fix anything. If someone here isn’t the right person to fix a particular problem, we probably have someone at one of our other locations who can do it.”
The back room at Chicago Clock in Clarendon Hills is filled with grandfather clocks and other timepieces waiting their turns to be repaired. Matthiesen said repair of a grandfather clock is likely to take 5-6 months.
“It does take some time because we also let it run for quite a while after being fixed to make sure it’s working properly,” he said. “We want everything to be right when we return a repaired clock or watch. And we’ll take that extra little step — if someone brings me a filthy clock, it won’t go back to them that way.”