The Faces of Lake Country: Jo and Mike Goralski

Meet Jo and Mike Goralski! They own Jewelry Mechanic, located on Hwy. P in the Town of Oconomowoc. An interesting fact about their business, besides the fact that they perform some dynamite custom work, is that Mike named his business ‘Jewelry Mechanic’ while he was studying at MATC, long before he started his business.

Question: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
Answer: Jo says, “I was a corporate accountant and Mike worked for Miller Brewing. Mike lost his job to robotics at Miller.  Because of a work injury, he was given the opportunity to retrain.  I also was a tutor at MATC and would continuously bring home multiple brochures for classes/careers.  I told Mike she would support him in any endeavor as long as it was his, and not someone else’s.”

”One day I brought home a brochure for a one year metals and jewelry program.  Mike told me he LOVED jewelry and metals and that is what he wanted to do. Years before at age 17 Mike applied at Fred Smith’s Jewelry and was turned away.  Fred told Mike it was a family business and you grow up into the business.   After taking the metals and jewelry class Mike went back to Fred at age 34 and he remembered Mike.  Mike spent a decade working for Mom & Pop stores and trade jewelers.”

Mike opened his own business and worked out of their home in 1994.  Two years later, he opened a store in Pewaukee, and in 1998 Jo started working together with Mike.

Q. What is your favorite restaurant in Lake Country, and what do you love there?
A. “Mike and I have had a weekly date night for 33 years, 23 of which have been in Lake Country. If we are going out for a special meal, we love Palmer’s Steakhouse in Hartland. If I’m in the mood for comfort food, I love Foolery’s. During the winter months I love the mac and cheese specials.”

Q. How long have you lived or worked in Lake Country?
A. “In 1992, we were robbed on a Monday morning in our Milwaukee home. In 1993, we moved to Mapleton and have been here ever since. We opened a store in Lake Country in 1996, and Jo joined Mike at the store in 1998.”

Q. If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?  And why?
A. “Newfoundland. Jo’s Dad’s family is from there. Her cousin that she was very close with died in October, so Mike insists this is the year they are making the trip.  In July or August of 2020 is when they will travel to Newfoundland.  The puffins and whales are there at that time.”

Q. What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?
A. “Our favorite movies are ‘Gone with the Wind’, ‘Bridges of Madison County’, and ‘Out of Africa’”.

Q. What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A. “Be kind.  Listen to each other.  Don’t judge.  Live your best life and listen to your inner voice.”

Q. What is something on your bucket list?
A. “We would love to travel to Scotland and Poland. We’d also like to write a book about the jewelry business.”

Q. Name three bands you would like to see (dead or alive).
A. “Grateful Dead, Eagles and Willie Nelson.”

Q. What current / former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Lake Country?
A. “Bertrand’s Point Comfort.”

Q. Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative, with whom would you love to have lunch? Why?
A. “Supreme Court Justice Ginsberg.  She has done so much to move the progress of women forward.  She has fought so hard at the national level for ratification of the 19th amendment.”

Q. What is your favorite thing or something unique about Lake Country?
A. “The sense of community…the events and festivals. It is so Norman Rockwell. The small town feeling.”

Q. Even for friends or family, what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A. “My first thoughts you could not put in print! Since our first kiss on our first date 45 years ago, I still think Mike is HOT.” She also said “Don’t touch my feet. I can’t stand it when people touch my feet.”

Q. What three words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A. “Shelter, peace and beauty.”

Q. If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
A. “My husband, Mike of course, and if it were a musical, my grandson, Paul.” Jo

Q. If you had a full time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose? A chef, housekeeper, driver, coach, physical fitness trainer, or nanny?
A. “Housekeeper all day!”


The Faces of Lake Country is a project to showcase the amazing people that live or work in our community. If you would like to nominate an interesting person to be featured, please click the button below. Interview by Dani Austin-Rauch.

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