Downtown Edmond is losing another long-time family-owned business as Parsons Jewelry store closes its doors for the last time Jan. 12.
Owners Jackie and Kenny Griffin will be retiring. They took over the day-to-day operation of the store 2 1/2 years ago when Jackie’s mother, Ellen Parsons, broke her hip. The couple joined Parsons in running the store in 1977.
Jackie’s sister, Sherri Lawson, also helped in the store for a short time, and most recently her daughter Tiffany Colon and daughter-in-law Ginger Parsons have helped.
Jackie’s father, Marvin Clarence Parsons, opened the first store in 1945 on Classen in the old Victoria Building.
“My father was a watchmaker and opened a repair shop following a 4-year apprenticeship under a watchmaker named Schmidt,” Jackie said. “When my Uncle Freeman came back from the service he took over the shop in Oklahoma City and my dad moved to Edmond and opened Parsons next to the former Broncho Theater in downtown Edmond.”
This was to be the first of three locations on Broadway. Parsons stayed in that location
until the late 1960s when he moved the store across the street and down the block
and took over half of what is now the Doll Shop on Broadway.”
The third and final move for the store was in the 1970s to the present location at24 S. Broadway. In April the family sold the store to Citizens Bank.
Although Oklahoma is forward-thinking in a lot of areas, jewelry was not one of
them, Jackie said.
“Today there is so much more available in the jewelry area, and it is a struggle to keep up,” Jackie added.
As times changed so did the merchandise in the store.
Over the years Jackie’s mom took jewelryon consignment.
“Mother likes costume jewelry and antiques and she is knowledgeable about both. When she broke her hip we started phasing that part out,” Jackie said. “I have no idea about costume jewelry nor do I have any interest.”
At one time they offered a bridal registry until the larger stores started offering the same service.
Those familiar with Parsons will remember a large square grand piano sitting in the front of the store.
“It was made by the Knabe Company and the first bill of sale was in 1874,” Jackie said. “When an owner of another downtown store had a dining table made from parts of a similar piano mother
decided she wanted to do the same.”
The table never got made and Jackie said, “I don’t know what we are going to
do with it. It is so large and I am not moving it to my house,” she said, laughing.
Laughter has filled the store for many years.
“When something goes wrong we laugh about it,” Jackie said. “One time I wrapped an empty box. One time two girls were wrapping presents at Christmas and a man had purchased a pair of diamond earrings. Somehow his present was mixed up with a $3 purchase someone else had made.Mom was the detective and she figured it out before either gift left the store.
“It has been wonderful. It couldn’t have been a better life if we had planned it ourselves,
rather than letting the Lord take charge,” she said. “We couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
“It is time to retire,” Jackie said. “We have the sweetest customers, and it is hard to know I am not going to see these people at all anymore.”
Their retirement will include doing something part-time, “Although we will probably be ordering (merchandise) until the end, because that is what we do.”
In addition to Tiffany, the Griffins have two other children, Brett Griffin and Heather Lacy. All three live in Edmond with their families.