Forging his own path
SC4 prepares Jim Langolf to run a successful business
Even as a young man, Jim Langolf knew he wanted to own a business someday.
But after graduating from Port Huron High School in 1980, he wasn’t sure of his next move. A trumpet player in the high school band, he spent much of his time playing music and considered himself just an average student.
It was at St. Clair County Community College that he learned he could follow his passions and still succeed academically. In his first semester, he earned a 4.0 grade point average.
“That semester really awakened me,” said Langolf, who lives in Port Huron Township. “It was like a light bulb went on.”
He continued to succeed during the remainder of his time at SC4. He also followed his love for music into the SC4 Jazz Band.
While attending SC4, he worked part time at the local jewelry store where his father, Alex, worked. That job turned out to be more than just a way to earn extra money. The skills he learned there would help him realize his goal. Years later, Langolf and his father would go into business together and open Alexander Fine Jewelers.
After graduating from SC4, Langolf transferred to Anderson University in Indiana and studied history and music performance, graduating with honors.
He credits SC4 with preparing him to succeed. “For me to go away to a four-year college right after high school would have been a disaster,” he said. “After SC4, I was much more prepared.”
Langolf returned to Port Huron after college and took a job doing software support for a local company. “That taught me a lot about customer service,” he said. “I learned how to make friends with people no matter how frustrated they were.”
He also took one more class at SC4. His wife, Dawn, was taking accounting and wanted company. Like his job at the jewelry store, that class would prove to be more valuable than he realized.
“I literally have used what I learned in that class every day of my life for the last 20 years.”
In 1993, he and his father decided it was time to make their dream a reality. They opened Alexander Fine Jewelers in downtown Port Huron.
“I always envisioned the two of us opening our own jewelry store. We went for it.”
The jewelry store, which moved to a new location in Fort Gratiot three years ago, is celebrating its 20th anniversary in April.
“It really is a joy to help people celebrate significant moments in their lives,” he said.
He and his wife are co-presidents of the Port Huron High School Band Boosters. Their son Jeffrey, an 11th-grader, is a drum major. They also have two daughters. Emily is in eighth grade and Kristen is studying to be a teacher at Anderson University.
Langolf and his business are proud to support the SC4 Alumni Association and give back to the school that gave him his start. “I am proud to have an associate degree from SC4 on my resume,” he said. “SC4 gives a lot of families educational options that they wouldn’t otherwise have.”