Jim Korzep, owner of Pezrok
What Is a Pezrok?
Hello, I’m Jim Korzep, owner of the gallery in Blue Ridge, Georgia, known as Pezrok.
Opened in October 2013, Pezrok came about from my love of minerals, which was handed down from my father’s passion for minerals and gems. As a child, Dad used to take the family to Franklin, North Carolina, to mine for rough gems while on vacation. Dad was an avid rockhound and so, of course, the family learned to share his passion by sluicing for gems in the beautiful North Carolina mountains.
In college, I first majored in geology, but ultimately ended up with a degree in geography from the University of South Florida in Tampa. My interest in geology has never really left me, however.
After college (and a brief stint as a “well logger” in Oklahoma), I landed a job at Sea World as a Marine Biologist (Aquarist), which was just supposed to be a “fun” job until I found a “real” job in my major. Of course, one year led to three, and I found a career I had never planned on. After Sea World, I was hired as part of the original aquarist team that set up the Living Seas at EPCOT/Walt Disney World. I spent eight months in the Florida Keys collecting tropical fish and sharks to stock the 6 million gallon aquarium for the first time.
Toward the end of my tenure at the Living Seas, I pursued a graduate Gemologist degree with GIA. Once again, my interest in gems and minerals rose to the surface; but as life would have it, the dream had to be put on hold again.
After the Living Seas, I became a project manager in the “theming” business, building fun stuff like simulated rocks, trees, coral reefs — whatever was needed — for zoos, aquariums, theme parks and resorts. The apex of this career was being hired as an aquarium consultant for Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas, putting the aquarium operation together and collecting all the tropical fish, sharks and rays. I also put together its first aquarium department.
Eventually I left the project world and started a commercial pool service business in Orlando, Florida, which was a natural extension of my understanding of water, pumps and filters. I sold the business in 2011 … which brings us to today.
I discovered Blue Ridge, Georgia, and its wonderful mountains by chance, and fell in love with the area (like most folks do!). Of course, memories of my family hunting for rocks and gems in nearby Franklin, North Carolina, surely led me this direction, too.
By the way, if you’re wondering about the name Pezrok: my last name is Korzep. As a young man in college, Dad would send me letters from time to time and sign them, “Papa Pezrok.” (Pezrok is just Korzep spelled backwards!) So, while Pezrok the store took a while to come to fruition, I like to think that Pezrok is an example of how anyone’s dreams can come true … given time!