By Genine Hopkins
Tom Kapuscinski and his wife Valencia, along with their three children, know a thing or two about entrepreneurship. Tom’s dad, Jim, was part owner of a roof truss manufacturing business – Delta Truss in Cadillac and Saginaw; Tom managed the Cadillac plant. As any good entrepreneur, they understood the market well, and in May 2006, both truss plants were sold; nine months later Tom lost his job. That left him and Valencia, married 14 years in August, figuring out just what to do next. This is what brought them to Clare, Michigan, at 611 N. McEwan Street, right in the heart of Downtown Clare.
Tom’s dad was a coin collector since the 1950s. Although Tom never really took an interest in it, his dad, suggested this might be a good business to enter.
“It took care of a couple of the passions I have, working with the public and taking advice from my father, a man who knew well how to gauge the market.”
He began the enterprise by placing ads in papers throughout Michigan. This worked well as he traveled around the area from Grand Rapids to the Upper Peninsula, appraising and buying collections.
But Tom missed the time it took from his family. Missing time from his young children eventually took its toll, and he had to rethink how to continue to pursue his passion.
“This was very time consuming and expensive, because it was taking a toll on my family. I knew something had to be done. It was over this past Thanksgiving dinner – 2012 – that I told Dad I wanted to open a coin shop, something that would have regular hours. His response was ‘I’ve waited four years for you to make that decision!’”
Choosing a site was more problematic. Cadillac, where the family lives, already had a coin shop and he didn’t feel the market was open enough to support two of the same shops. So the search began.
“The coin shop in Cadillac was owned by one of my ‘mentors,’ and I didn’t want to compete with someone who was so kind to me, showing me the ropes. But the search didn’t last long; we found the City of Clare.”
With its central location on the journey northward for many Michiganders and out of state visitors, it seemed like the perfect choice. In January 2013, he found an empty shop in Clare, between the Ideal Theatre and a hair salon, and knew it was the perfect location.
What sets KAPS KOINS apart from other “we buy coins/gold” dealers is the fact that Tom isn’t looking to pay minimal values for items he knows are worth quite a bit. He learned what the retail and wholesale costs were, and he didn’t want to “get rich quick” off the backs of people often parting with heirlooms.
“Integrity, honesty and fair pricing is our motto,” he said, “As all businesses do, I need to turn a profit, but not by making low offers.”
While visiting the store, there was one of the many “we buy gold” events occurring in the city. A woman who had stopped in earlier to have her collection appraised by Tom had just returned from this event, and was amazed at the vast difference in the value.
“KAPS KOINS offered me just under $100 dollars; the other place just over $25 for the same item. I will be coming back to KAPS KOINS every time!” she exclaimed!
KAPS KOINS not only purchases collections, but also buys, sells and even trades. It is rare to find old fashioned business ethics anymore, but that’s what visitors to the shop will find. Most of it comes from his solid upbringing and his deep faith that was instilled in him by his parents.
Visitors to the store will see a HUGE collection of unique arrow heads that are displayed behind the counter, along with antlers and some antiques brought back from his dad’s Texas hunting ranch. Those are not for sale; they are part of the collection that his dad had acquired over the many years, from around the country. But there are LOTS of collections of silver and gold bullion, coins, and currency that are part of his trade. Included in the collection is something rather unique: National Currency Bank Notes from small town banks in the UP. Some date as far back as 1882, running all the way through the year of the crash – 1929.
Morgan Silver Dollar pieces and other minted coins are on hand, both foreign and U.S. There’s even coins stretching back from the late 1700s, during the early colonial times.
“Despite the fact that I never took as much interest as Dad did in coin collecting until recent years, he taught me well. I pass that tradition on to anyone coming in to begin a collection, how to store them, how to maintain their value. I am very pleased that the state quarters/President dollars have renewed an interest in coin collecting. Although these often won’t hold value since so many were minted, and are in collections they are still a good way to start. We also have books, supplies and literature on collecting to help those just getting started or even more seasoned collectors.”
Tom also suggests that if people have older coins – LEAVE THEM ALONE! Don’t try to clean them up, leave them in their “natural state.” Otherwise, it may decrease their overall value.
Tom and his family are very excited to be in Clare..
“I love the customers, the City offices and Chamber have extended every effort to promote and help all new business owners. It’s a perfect fit.”
His goal is to involve his own children, leave a family legacy. It seems like he’s on his way. On a sad note, Tom’s father, Jim, had a stroke on February 7th of this year and never recovered. He passed away on March 30th and although he never had a chance to participate in the soft opening on March 11th, a part of him will always be at the store, including his cowboy hats, spurs and jacket he wore on his hunting ranch in Texas. This is proudly displayed on the wall of KAPS KOINS.
KAPS KOINS is opened 9:30 a.m.to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday; hours may be extended for summer.
KAPS KOINS can also be found at Facebook, at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kaps-Koins-LLC/230633367080783