Working in Clark County: John Van Rees Sr., founding owner, Exquisite Crystals

By Kay Richardson, Columbian staff writer

Published:

 
Working in Clark County is a brief profile of interesting Clark County business owners or a worker in the public, private or nonprofit sector. Send ideas to Kay Richardson: kay.richardson@columbian.com; fax 360-735-4598; phone 360-735-4550.

Customers of Exquisite Crystals are looking for crystals for any number of reasons. Co-owner, founder and crystal consultant John Van Rees Sr. says crystals are exquisite accents for a home and can be healing, too. “They can make the home feel much more inviting, more loving. Cluster crystals, versus single-point crystals, are good for family harmony. We used a manifestation crystal, one within another, to help us hearken our first business with confidence. Some people use them in jewelry so they are with them all the time, to help with anxiety, shyness, anger, grounding, all kinds of problems,” he says. “Whatever’s wrong, there’s a crystal to help.”

Name: John Van Rees Sr.

Residence neighborhood: Hazel Dell.

Business name: Exquisite Crystals, 619 Barnes St., Vancouver (in the West Barracks; look for the “Dental Surgeon’s Office” sign), 360-573-6787, www.exquisitecrystals.com and on Facebook.

Age: 65.

Personal background: I grew up in Iowa, but sometime in my early years — maybe during social studies in elementary school — I learned about the Pacific Northwest, and in my heart I have always wanted to be here. I had been working for a shoe company and moving around quite a bit when my family and I finally moved to Oregon 36 years ago. When we landed at the airport, I knew I was home.

How you got started in your business: I was working for Target in retail management when I left to become a minister. During that process, I took a class on psychic development, which gave me the tools I needed to learn the language of psychic reading. I was managing and doing readings for a New Age store in Portland, and it was here that I learned that I really loved working with crystals and minerals. I became the buyer for the store and, subsequently, a professional psychic. As a way of giving back to the world, I also did prison ministry for four or five years teaching meditation and spiritual practice to inmates.

After the Portland store closed, I opened Exquisitecrystals.com on the web and in 2000 opened a store in Portland called Healing Waters & Sacred Spaces. I left HWSS in 2004 to concentrate on Exquisitecrystals.com and to work with crystal healing.

What people who buy your crystals are looking for: They’re looking for the quality of the crystal, aesthetics, the energy. If they are both decorous and healing, so much the better. Beauty changes energy. Ninety-nine percent of my business is online, and people say they can tune into the photo online and perceive the energy of the crystal.

Personal/business philosophy: Be kind.

Most rewarding part of job: I love connecting people with a crystal that helps them to heal, feel better or just smile.

Most challenging part of job: Not keeping the best stuff for myself.

Something surprising about your work: More people love crystals and minerals than you would think! I thought I was going to retire and instead we opened a gallery!

Best feature of my Clark County community: I love Clark County because of the small-town feel and the friendliness of the people. I can start a conversation almost anywhere without people looking at me like I am crazy.

What would make your community a better place: More liberals.

What is your favorite travel destination and type: I attend two large industry shows each year with my son and shop co-owner, John Jr. I love these trips because we get to see our favorite dealers from all over the world who have become close friends.

Favorite restaurant/pub/coffee shop/store: WareHouse ’23, GoGo Sushi.

Hobbies: Gardening and Facebook.

Best way to spend 10 spare minutes: Meditating.

Something you’d like to do this year/within five years: Go to the Grand Canyon.

One word to describe yourself: Interesting.

Person you’d most like to meet: Barack Obama or Bernie Sanders.