Everybody loves Opal. The diminutive Shih-Poo puppy is the first to greet customers as they drop by friendly neighborhood Banks Jewelry and Gifts. According to owner Tina Sink, “Everyone in town knows Opal. People come to see her all the time. The men are the most affected. They talk to her before they talk to us!”
Such is life in small town Burnsville, a quiet, cozy town 35 miles west of Asheville NC. “We have a lot of small shops in Burnsville,” Tina explains. “You see most of the owners in their stores and get to know them. People come to get out of big city life, relax and slow down.”
During the summer, seasonal residents and vacationers from points further south come to enjoy the cooler climate, adding a cosmopolitan air, enjoying the country clubs and giving the economy a boost. “We have lots of well-known local artists and wonderful people from all parts of the world.” On a typical day a constant stream of customers including many friends stop by to change a watch battery, see what’s new or just chat.
It’s all in the family. “In the 1960s my parents started by selling jewelry in part of a drug store,” Tina recalls. “Later we expanded to a joint business with a RadioShack. When my father passed away I inherited the jewelry business. In 1993 we moved to our current ideal location. My brother owns the RadioShack next door.” Tina’s husband Michael runs local radio WKYK which can often be heard promoting Banks Jewelry special events such as Trunk Shows.
“We sell all types of jewelry from sterling silver to fine diamonds, colored stones and pearls. I don’t want to be a mall-type jewelry store. They all look alike to me,” says Tina.
Tina carries the new Jewel Casual Collection from Jewel Couture LLC by Mia Katrin and recently hosted her Trunk Show. “I like to carry jewelry from designers, from couture collections to the diamond collection of Cherie Dori. I must admit that Pandora has filled in a lot of gaps in all price points for me, offering gifts starting at $50 and up.”
“This year I’ve had to watch my spending. I’ve tried to promote my fast-selling items first and done some rearranging so customers always see a fresh look. I advertise. I get out in the community. So far my year is up from last year. If my last quarter holds up I’ll be thankful. I stay upbeat and try to make everyone feel positive.”
“Since people have been nervous about spending, I decided to do something to lighten the mood and give us something to talk about besides the economy. My little dog Opal now stays at the store. She’s changed the atmosphere completely. My accountant jokes Opal could be written off my taxes because of the traffic she brings in.”
“I’ve grown up in Burnsville and seen a lot of changes,” Tina reminisces. “I always try to hold my head up, keep my values and stay positive.” A perfect philosophy for this small town store with a big heart.
Mia Katrin is an award-winning, internationally celebrated couture jewelry designer, specializing in one-of-a-kind and limited edition high-end necklaces with precious gems in 18-24 karat gold and platinum. Her Collections, which have been worn by A-List Hollywood celebrities, are featured in many top galleries and stores throughout the country, where she regularly hosts Trunk Shows. Contact Mia via her website, http://jeweljewel.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (877) JEWEL-MY.