Dennis Engels, longtime Downtown Grandville business owner is the recipient of a Grandville Jenison Chamber Lifetime Achievement Award. Dennis is the second award winner, with former Mayor Jim Buck being the first recipient in 2012. “It is an honor to recognize Dennis and his contributions to not only the business community and the success of downtown Grandville, but also his devotion to many charities”. stated Sandy LeBlanc, Executive Director of the Grandville Jenison Chamber. Dennis will be recognized at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting held on Friday, January 19 at Sunnybrook Country Club. The meeting is open to the public. Register online at www.grandjen.com or call 616.531.8890.
Denny Engels owns and operates Richard Engels Jewelers in Grandville. The business was started by Denny’s father Richard in 1930, and Denny’s son Mark works in the business, making Richard Engels Jewelers an 87-year, 3-generation family business.
Denny was born in Grand Rapids and raised in Wyoming. He went to Godwin Christian Elementary and finished high school at South Christian High School. When he wasn’t playing on Little League teams or South Christian’s golf league, he earned his spending money by changing watch batteries & watchbands at his father’s store.
After graduating from South Christian, Denny went to Grand Valley State College, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree. Denny also spent some time at the Institut de Touraine, a French language and culture school in Tours, France during these years.
After college, Denny started working for a Chicago-based jewelry company, which he represented across a four-state territory, including Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio. After a few years of life on the road, Denny & his father decided that the time was right for Denny to join the family business. In order to develop his skills as a jeweler, Denny learned goldsmithing and diamond setting at a jewelry school in Alabama before joining the business full-time, and has earned accreditation by the Gemological Institute of America.
Denny’s years at Richard Engels Jewelers have been prosperous, enabling Denny to expand into two adjacent buildings in order to accommodate increased sales volumes. As much as the local community has trusted Denny with their business over the years, Denny and his family have returned the kindness through their active participation and support of numerous local organizations and causes.
Denny has been an active member of the Kenowa AMBUCS for many years, and both he and his father earned Big Hats through their work with the group. Big Hats are earned by AMBUCS who demonstrate their commitment to helping the organization grow by recruiting at least three new members. Among Denny’s favorite AMBUCS activities are the AmTryke program, which gives kids and veterans tricycles specially built for their needs; the installment of adaptive playground equipment at Frog Hollow Park in Wyoming; and helping people obtain the medical equipment they need in order to stay in their homes.
Denny was also very active in the Downtown Business Group, which brought together business owners in downtown Grandville for collaboration. He worked with the DDA and Mayor Jim Buck to implement the Chicago Drive Streetscape project, which won a Community Excellence Award from the Michigan Municipal League in 2014.
In addition to his involvement in these principal activities, Denny’s generosity to the local community has shown in his reliable support of local charities, school events, church events, sports league parties, and fund raisers over its many decades in Grandville.
Having an 80+ year-old family business is an uncommon achievement. Denny has been able to play a major role in achieving this feat because customer service and satisfaction have always been his #1 goal. Among his most rewarding experiences are the stories he hears about two or three generations buying their wedding rings from Richard Engels Jewelers.