Longevity is just one of the words that describes Carroll’s Jewelers who is celebrating their 85th anniversary this week. This hometown shop was originally owned by the Carrolls and was established in 1934 in downtown Marion. Not only does the store have longevity but the dedicated employees have over 172 years of experience there. Newbies include Donna Crabtree, Emily Thacker and Mary Bennett, at 3, 4, and 6 years, respectively, and then jumps to Lisa Grill with 22, Tiffanie Starcher with 23, Tammy Judy with 29, and Marianne Brammell with 46 years. And the name synonymous with Carroll’s Jewelers, Lowell Thurston, has 48 years. Each of these people have devoted their talents and lives to making Carroll’s what it is today.
And they will all tell you that the store gives back to them, far more than just a paycheck. They are a family, helping each other through the good and tough times. Even their children and grandchildren grew up familiar with the store. They all have a love for the infamous candy cupboard in the staff area, but Lowell comes in a close second, being best friend to several of their children. It is this feeling of family and caring for each other that carries through to the way they treat their customers.
Customer service is foremost on the list of characteristics they believe has helped Carroll’s remain a vital part of our community. They believe making people happy the best part of their job. This is evident from the friend
ly greeting one receives when walking in the door. The extra effort they take making sure the customer gets what they were looking for and the beautifully wrapped packages, done free of charge, shows an attention to detail often lost in today’s rush of online shopping. Another skill they have is their knowledge of the merchandise, each having attended the Gemological Institute of America classes. And the community support that Lowell has given, through Carroll’s and on his own, has long helped many local causes with auction items and “quietly” made sure projects move forward to improve Marion.
Through the years Carroll’s Jewelers and its staff have seen many changes, like the trend of sterling silver replacing gold as the metal of choice. Probably the greatest change was the result of a terrible accident. On the morning of February 4, 2002 Carroll’s Jewelers was engulfed in flames and declared a total loss. But in less than 24 hours the retailer was back in business. Through the help of the community, offering a new temporary location in the basement of the Chase building and with people stopping what they were doing to help move the merchandise and displays, this was accomplished.
Many think that Carroll’s was always at their 207 W. Center Street home. The original 300-square foot location, before the fire, was at 172 W. Center. The current location is a dramatic change. The one-time tire warehouse was totally gutted on the inside to create their beautiful 2800-square foot space. This location reaffirms Lowell’s commitment to downtown Marion, despite other sites offered through the years.
Carroll’s Jewelers must be a sight to see a few days before Christmas. It is filled with gentlemen doing their last-minute shopping. Some have been known to stop in on those days, and other special occasions like anniversaries, and leave all the shopping in the capable hands of the staff to make the celebration a special day. During the last days before the holiday, the staff have been known to make bows in their sleep while their own families get presents in grocery bags.
Even after hectic days like that, all the ladies agree that what makes their job worthwhile is to see the reactions of those receiving what is often a very special token of love, like an engagement ring. Recently a gentleman and his wife told Lowell they remembered him helping them buy their wedding rings 34 years ago and making the time special for them. Not many companies can share that kind of memory. That is what makes Carroll’s Jewelers and the amazing staff of Tammy, Tiffanie, Lisa, Emily, Donna, Mary, Marianne and Lowell so special. Congratulations Carroll’s Jewelers for 85 great years!