The Murfreesboro Chamber Business of the Month for April is Southern Specialties Fine Jewelry. They had an Open House the evening of April 24, 2015 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. In addition they held a drawing for a $100 Gift Certificate and the winner of this drawing was Joyce McPherson.
Southern Specialties has been a staple on the square since April of 1999. The business was started out in the country, near the rural community of Stelltown in 1992 by Ruth Folsom, DeWayne Gray’s grandmother, in the grocery store building that DeWayne Gray current owner of Southern Specialties had built with the help of his grandparents Imon & Ruth Folsom in 1984. In this location Southern Specialties was mainly a flower shop with quilts, and jams & jellies. The jewelry side of the business was started with one case of jewelry; 5 gold chains and 3 pairs of earrings.. When everything was ready for the shop to open they had $11.47 left in the register to start the business.
DeWayne moved to Little Rock from the Stelltown community after closing his grocery store in 1990. There he worked two jobs, one was for Oxford Jewelers owned by the Ali Corporation. This is where he learned the jewelry business. Then in 1996 he moved back to help his Grandparents on their farm due to his Grandfather’s declining health and death. In 1999 DeWayne purchased the 1909 Owens-Stelle buildings from Buel and Sarah Hawkins. He established Southern Specialties Fine Jewelry in the south half of the buildings.
There were two locations for Southern Specialties Fine Jewelry when DeWayne opened on the Square in Murfreesboro, until 2001, when his Grandmother Ruth Folsom retired. During the two years they had both locations, Mrs. Folsom would fill the flower orders out at the country location and then DeWayne would go get them and bring them in or she would deliver them to the store. When she retired in 2001 they moved everything to the store here in town, focusing mainly on the jewelry and gifts.
DeWayne continued to work for the Ali Corp. doing their wholesale shows until 2007 when the Ali Corp. went out of business. It was during one of these wholesale shows that he met Francy on June 4, 2004, six months later, to the day they were married. Francy had been living in Ft. Lauderdale. Florida since 199, also working in her own jewelry and gem business, but was originally from Colombia, South America.
Southern Specialties, Fine Jewelry is a full service jewelry store and they specialize in mounting Arkansas uncut diamonds. They have three or more jewelers that work for them as diamond/gem cutters, polishers and designers. They also have one jeweler that works in-house doing repair, DeWayne does appraisal work and watch repair. DeWayne and Francy can create custom jewelry, as well as remake/redesign heirloom jewelry. They have a large selection of loose diamonds. any kind of diamond of every quantity, size and shape. In addition they carry antique and estate jewelry. Their customers are from all over the world. Whether they walk in the front door or when DeWayne and Francy ship a special unique item to them.
An interesting sad side note to the history of Southern Specialties, the building it was started in out in the Stelltown community between Murfreesboro and Delight burned on January 28, 2015, due to a highway grass fire.