Ian Schnaitman and his family are no strangers to business ownership in the Marshall, MI, area: Dan and Susie (his uncle and aunt) own the famous Red Arrow Restaurant just down I-69 from Marshall in northern Indiana; another uncle, Eric, owns Merging Media in Lansing; and another aunt, Sue Ann Schnaitman, owns the Stagecoach Inn in downtown Marshall, a stone’s throw from Ian’s own shop, Quality Engraving.
More than just recent generations of the Schnaitman family have business ties to Marshall, however. In 1901, Fred Schnaitman built what is now 221 West Michigan Avenue. It was briefly a restaurant, but was then turned into a renowned meat market, and operated continually as such under various owners, including Ian’s grandparents, until 1963, when it became the office space that it is today.
In an interesting twist of fate, 221 West Michigan will once again be occupied by a Schnaitman business at the end of this month when, after 20 years in its current location just across the street, Ian will move Quality Engraving to operate from within the business premises of his ancestors. “I am very excited about the move,” says Schnaitman, who has owned Quality Engraving for five and a half years, having started working for the then owners right out of high school in 1997. “The coolest part is the full-circle aspect of it, having another generation of Schnaitmans at such an historic location.”
The location is indeed historic. The basement is full of relics of the building’s meat market past. Many of the tools and fittings are still there, including rows of macabre meat-hooks and a massive, 30-gallon tank, presumably used for curing large cuts of meat. Schnaitman intends to use some of these to expand his collection of memorabilia and artifacts from the old business and provide an fascinating historical display for visitors to his engraving shop.
It is engraving, not meat, which is dear to Schnaitman’s heart, however. “I enjoy working with the public, and doing something new and challenging every day,” he says, “The most interesting thing I have engraved was a gold medallion that was being sent over to Pope John Paul II. We really can engrave anything from leather stirrups to fine jewelry.” The people at Quality Engraving pride themselves on their customer service, fast turn around time, and quality work at a fair and reasonable price. Ian keeps customers up to date with the progress of their orders on the business’ Facebook page, so disappointments are rare.
Watching Schnaitman in his workshop, however, it is easy to see another quality at work: his meticulous attention to detail. Pieces are set up for laser or diamond engraving on machines that are accurate to hundredths of an inch, and measurements are checked and re-checked to make sure that the final result is perfect. From precious one-off treasures, individual gifts, security engraving, pet tags, household and seasonal decorations, to large orders of sporting or corporate awards, Quality Engraving is a one-stop shop for anything that needs quality engraving.
Anthony Rodgers – Feature Writer