Still shining: C’s Jewelry thriving in 20th year at current location

C's Jewelry sales associate Peggy Lujan and owners Susan and Betty pose in the engagement/wedding display area of the store. Photo by Thomas Sellers Jr.

Sparkling among all the newness near the Shoppes of Millington Farms is C’s Jewelry.

The business that celebrated its 53rd anniversary earlier this month is marking 20 years at the 8596 Highway 51 North location. Grass, dirt and ditches were the backdrop of C’s Jewelry for more than 15 years.

Then in late 2016 operations like Buffalo Wild Wings, Huey’s, Petco and Ross started to open. Now C’s Jewelry is in the forefront of the hottest business scene in Flag City.

“Since we first moved over here in ’98, we’ve had some really good years,” C’s Jewelry co-owner Betty Dye said. “Then the computer glitch came along. Then 9/11, all of that affected business. But now with all the growth we have here, this location has been great.

The store’s original location was at 5427 Navy Road, Millington. Courtesy photo.

“It has been 20 years in this location,” she added. “The new businesses have helped a lot. It has helped us with visibility. When we first moved up here, we weren’t even in Millington. We were not in the Millington city limits at all. Millington took us in about a year after. Just the map and the growth around us, it’s been unreal running the business in this area.”

Dye and her sister/co-owner, Susan Lassiter, are taking advantage of the newly found foot traffic with deals, additional merchandise and special offers.

“We do new things,” Dye said. “We’ve changed a lot. When it first opened up in 1965, it was a full line jewelry store with silver trays and stuff. We were really the first business in Shelby County for jewelry. There was no Service Merchandise or anything like that at the time.

Susan Lassiter and Peggy Lujan help a customer at C's Jewelry. Photo by Thomas Sellers Jr.

“We’ve been very blessed and able to survive,” she continued. “We are family owned. We try to keep our overhead down. That counts for a lot. We try to get the best price we can get on our jewelry, watches, watch batteries and we do a lot of service.”

Around Christmas, C’s Jewelry is the place to go for jewelry and other items like music equipment.

For years, the operation formerly known as Mr. C’s Jewelry has been the place for engagement rings, wedding pieces and jewels for any special occasion.

The services include jewelry repair, watch batteries and links, ring cleaning/inspection and custom design, and C’s also buys gold.

“We have people bring jewelry in to see how much it is worth,” Dye noted. “We do written appraisals for insurance purposes. We have another notary who comes in on Fridays. We try to sell jewelry that is affordable for this area. As far as getting anything somebody might want, we have access to it because we have a good credit rating as well.”

With your good credit, C’s Jewelry now does financing through Synchrony Bank.

“Most of the time we offer six months same as cash – with no interest,” Dye said. “It costs us a little bit. But we look at it as if it helps a customer.”

Helping customers is something Dye and Lassiter learned from their parents, Sam and Lucille Needham. On June 11, 1965, Mr. C’s Jewelry opened at 5427 Navy Road.

Sam and Lucille started Mr. C’s Jewelry, naming the business from a chain of Chinese restaurants in California. It was the last place Sam served in the Navy after a 20-year career.

Sam came from a humble background, growing up poor in Arkansas. He wasn’t able to finish school but began serving his country in the 1940s.

He greeted customers for more than 20 years before handing the daily operations over to his daughters. Dye and Lassiter overcame doubters as women in business and took the tough verbal lessons from their father to grow C’s Jewelry. Dye said those lectures are the foundation of the growth of C’s Jewelry.

Now when you stop by C’s, you will receive service from Lassiter, Dye or Peggy Lujan behind the counter. So after a meal at one of the nearby restaurants or once you’re done shopping at Millington Farms, pop into C’s Jewelry to become part of the family.

“Our customers are like our family,” Dye concluded. “We know some of their history and about what they’ve been through. They know our history. A lot them might call, ‘How are you doing?’ My sister’s daughter is getting married. A lot of the customers know about that. We try to be real personable. You can’t get that in other stores. You just can’t get that.”

For more information on C’s Jewelry & Music, call (901) 872-4270.

THOMAS SELLERS JR. is the editor of The Millington Star and sports editor for Journal West 10 Media LLC. Contact him by phone at (901) 433-9138, by fax to (901) 529-7687 and by email to thomas.sellers@journalinc.com. This series of business feature stories is appearing in all four of the Journal West 10 newspapers in Shelby County. Check back weekly to learn about new and longtime businesses in Arlington, Bartlett, Bolton, Collierville, Germantown, Lakeland and Millington. We also welcome your suggestions on who to feature next; email ideas to Bartlett Express Editor Carolyn Bahm at carolyn.bahm@journalinc.com.

The 53-year history of C's Jewelry is on display in the store with a picture of Betty and Susan with their late mother Lucille. Courtesy photo.