“To proudly provide fun and educational programs, products, and experiences all with the goal of inspiring kids of all ages to explore and learn more about the sciences.”
This has been Tom Cummins’ mission since he first started his Mobile Mining Experience in 2006. Now, his dream is becoming a reality on Dec. 1 as he opens a new, 6,000-square-foot Rock Shop in the Francis Scott Key Mall.
What began as a homegrown educational company, Geologic Times Corporation (G.T.C.) has grown into so much more.
Tom Cummins’ journey started out as a way to connect with his son, James. “I was always a workaholic, still am, and I realized… that I was allowing my ridiculous work ethic to affect my family, which is unacceptable,” said Tom.
When James started to show interest in rocks and minerals, Tom went out to find clubs and programs for him to join.
“So he became a junior rock hound, I started attending meetings … and then I realized I had to make the company.”
This led to the creation of G.T.C. and the “Mobile Mining Experience.” It started out of a few storage units, later evolving into educational fairs, gem and fossil mining programs, and most recently, a retail store.
The store, G.T.C. Rock Shop, first opened in the F.S.K. mall in Oct. 2019 to give financial support to the educational programs.
However, like the rest of America, in the beginning of Covid-19 all of the company’s operations had to be shut down.
“The financial effects of the temporary closure of our retail store, the suspension of all our operations, and cancellations of our educational programs and retail shows has been devastating.”
Along with a lot of other local businesses, Tom Cummins found himself stuck between a rock and a hard place. He had to figure out how to prioritize health and safety for employees and customers, while making sure his workers still had a way to provide for themselves.
Ever since Maryland entered stage 2 and allowed the reopening of stores, Tom has been working in his shop almost every day to ensure that everyone stays healthy and safe.
During this time, he made a decision that would change his company.
With his staff at his side, Tom Cummins decided to make the risky move to open up a 6,000 square-foot store in order to combine the educational and retail sides of his company.
“We really shouldn’t be doing this,” said Tom, “but we have to.”
Tom and his Rock Shop team have been working diligently this holiday season, defying the odds, to provide engaging education for “kids of all ages.” Their new space will be complete with a wall of amethyst, a double geode cracker, and a black light display. By the spring, the store will open a class/activity room and a gem sifting station.
The experience that the store offers will be unique for every child who steps foot in the store and will “turn into real careers for some of the staff.”
A “game changer,” the G.T.C. Rock Shop is just the Christmas miracle to bring the mission of the company to life.