70 years young Young Jewelers celebrates 70th anniversary Jasper celebrated the 70th anniversary of one of the city's most well-known and lasting businesses — Young Jewelers — on …
70 years Young
Young Jewelers celebrates 70th anniversary
Jasper celebrated the 70th anniversary of one of the city's most well-known and lasting businesses — Young Jewelers — on Thursday.
The Young Jewelers family welcomed their loyal customers and city elite to the business at 401 W. 19th St. in downtown Jasper Thursday to enjoy light fare and take a look back at the business that started as a small watch repair counter.
Debbie Young, president of the Young Jewelers Corporation, told the story of her parents' perseverance and their business model that has stood the test of time.
After serving in World War II, Hamilton native Hoyt Young, Debbie's father, attended watchmaking school, eventually becoming a master watchmaker and jeweler. He made the move to Jasper in 1948 with his high school sweetheart, Evelyn, and operated a small watch repair business inside of Jasper Drug Store. It was the Truman era, the beginning of the Cold War, and watchmakers were a necessity.
"At that time, they had to have certified watchmakers on the railway system, so he did a great deal of business with his watchmaking," Debbie Young said. "Over the years, the business grew along the lines of jewelry and gifts."
In 1952, then-Young's Jewelry, moved to a single business location on Third Avenue in Jasper, and over a decade later, Evelyn Young joined the business as a full-time bookkeeper and associate. The Young's later bought Best Jewelry Company in 1969, allowing them to move into a larger location on Third Avenue. They were then known as Young-Best Jewelers.
Disaster struck during the 1974 Super Outbreak, where an F4 tornado ripped through downtown Jasper the night of April 3, causing widespread destruction and destroying much of their business space, which was directly across from the heavily damaged courthouse. Hoyt Young temporarily had a mobile store in front of the Jasper Post Office, while the city recovered from tornado damage. In 1975, the business became known as Young Jewelers and located to 407 W. 19th Street.
Debbie Young joined Young Jewelers in 1976 after graduating from the University of Alabama in retailing, and in 2001, Young Jewelers moved into their now-5,000 square foot space. Her daughter, Iris Sanders Jarvis, also joined the business in 2015, and she works as a signature engraver.
Young Jewelers is now a third-generation business that Debbie Young has operated since her parents' passing — Hoyt in 2007 and Evelyn in 2011.
Young Jewelers even launched the career of Mark Sparks, who has worked a total of 14 years with Young Jewelers. Sparks said he started working for the business when he was a senior at Walker High School in 1977. Hoyt Young taught Sparks engraving and he then started practicing the craft of jewelry repair, which he loved.
"Mr. Young taught me things and then sent me to jewelers school," Sparks said.
He worked for Young Jewelers until 1985 and then moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he became successful in the jewelry manufacturing business. Years later, he returned to Young Jewelers in 2012. He's a certified bench jeweler, laser technician, watch adjustment technician and manager.
"There's nothing like a good, hometown business," Sparks said.
Other staff members include Mitzi McDaniel (bridal consultant, senior sales professional, SJTA certified jeweler and registered buyer for jewelry and gifts for 15 years); Heidi Young Batson (sales associate, pearl technician, watch adjustment technician and media for five years); Laura Smith Brand (bookkeeper and sales associate for three years); and Charlotte Garner (sales associate for one year). The "YJ Family" has many certifications and continuing education in the jewelry industry.
Debbie Young said her family's roots run deep in Jasper, and despite the test of time, Young Jewelers has remained a staple in downtown.
"We've been committed to the downtown area since the inception of our business, and I always feel like shopping areas have a lifetime. Mall areas come and go, shopping centers sometimes come and go, but this is the center of commerce in town," she said. "It has the courthouse, city hall, the banking industry, probate judge's office. We always felt like, no matter what happened, there was going to be traffic, and this was going to be a viable part of the community."
She added, "I've been very committed. My parents had always been committed to the community in several different ways. We're real excited to see regrowth in the downtown area, to see it flourishing, and the traffic is back."
Young Jewelers offers many services, in addition to their wide selection of jewelry, from design and repair, to personalized engraving. Debbie Young said they not only engrave jewelry, but have also engraved guns, stethoscopes, plaques and other items. Young's bridal registry is also popular.
Debbie Young said she is thankful to customers in the community that have continued to trust in Young Jewelers to help capture memories and milestones for families.
"We're serving the third and fourth generations of some families, and it's really an honor to get to be a part of their lives, and we appreciate that," she said.