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He eventually chose diamonds over plungers, taking a position at Blakeman’s Fine Jewelry in Springdale.
Blakeman’s father founded the jewelry store in 1987 with $5,000 in savings. Blakeman had worked there as a sales associate while finishing high school.
After deciding to embark on the family business path, Blakeman trained to become a bench jeweler at the Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology.
Blakeman worked at a jewelry store in Colorado shortly before returning home in 2001.
"It was a good opportunity to get started in the family business," Blakeman said. "We needed a bench jeweler in the store. That was always the plan — to come back."
He was soon promoted to vice president of Blakeman’s Fine Jewelry, where he now oversees all buying and merchandising at the store.
Blakeman, 33, also participates in community work. As a member of the Springdale Rotary Club, he has gone on mission trips to Mexico and Central America to provide wheelchairs to the disabled. He also coaches youth soccer teams for the Fayetteville Parks & Recreation Department and the Arkansas Comets Soccer Club.