By LYNDA STRINGER
Barry and Lana Hamilton know what it takes to keep a business going strong. The owners of the family- owned jewelry store on Mount Pleasant’s downtown square is thriving after 109 years.
“Number one you have to love what you do,” says Lana Hamilton, who points out that the store is in its fourth generation with their son, Rance Hamilton, working alongside them. “We have loyal customers and you have to treat them fair.”
Rance Hamilton, right, pictured with his parents, Barry and Lana Hamilton, represents the fourth generation of Hamiltons keeping Hamilton Jewelers in business since 1904.
The avid history buff, Barry Hamilton touts that Hamilton Jewelers is the oldest retail establishment in Mount Pleasant. In between helping a steady stream of mid-afternoon customers, he proudly shows off his collection of faded black and white photos and yellowed newspaper clippings of the store and the downtown area from those bygone eras.
Hamilton Jewelers current location on 2nd Street is one of the oldest buildings in Mount Pleasant. The business was originally located inside Wallace Drug on North Jefferson Street. Shown in this 1908 photo, one side of the store was the drug store, while the jewelry store took up the other side. The fourth-generation family-owned business was founded by Barry Hamilton’s grandfather, J.B. Hamilton.
While he revels in the store’s rich history, the couple says they are constantly changing to keep up with trends to stay relevant.
To do that and to keep their costs down, they are part of a jewelry buying group that includes more than 800 stores.
The store offers the finest luxury jewelry, engagement rings, watches of exceptional quality and designer home accessories. Their services include bridal and gift registry, custom jewelry design, engraving on everything from glass to metal, in-store jewelry repair and a fulltime jeweler.
Longtime Chamber partners, Barry Hamilton said he and his wife step up when the Chamber needs them because the Chamber has done so much for their business.
Hamilton Jewelers has generously offered to sponsor the 2nd annual “Hamilton Jewelers Diamond Dash,” a treasure hunt through Mount Pleasant set for Saturday, Oct. 12 as part of the month-long Fright-tober events. Those who sign up for the hunt can win two loose GIA-certified diamonds. One is a .89 carat round brilliant-cut diamond, while the second is a .86 carat round brilliant-cut diamond. The value for both is approximately $5,000.
The Chamber is grateful for the Hamilton’s generosity in providing the Diamond Dash prizes again this year.
“We’re giving back to the community, Barry Hamilton said. “And, it’s a good thing for us. It gets our name out there.”
Each team consists of two people. They must be at least 18 to enter. All locations and challenges will be delivered straight to the team members’ cell phones, a new aspect of the contest, sponsored by Verizon. The team will solve the challenges and earn points to win the sparkling gem stones.
The inaugural Diamond Dash during the 2012 Fright-tober maxed out at 50 teams.
“It was a lot of fun. Everybody ended up here,” said Lana Hamilton. “Our store is really small and we had all those people inside.”
Barry Hamilton said the whole store was packed from the back to the front and spilled out onto the sidewalk. “You couldn’t even move,” he said.
This year, the contest will start at the Chamber of Commerce at 4 p.m. and end at the Titus County Courthouse across the street from the jewelry store.
“We just never dreamed that it would be as much fun as it was. It was all so exciting,” Lana Hamilton said.
Team members can register online for the free contest at MtPleasantTX.com.