NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - "We're just down the street from Kennedy's jewelers'. Directions like that to downtown locales have been given for nine decades by Nacogdoches residents. Soon it will end, as the family owned business is preparing to shut its doors.
When was there not a Kennedy's at the corner of Main and Pecan?
"There's been a Kennedy's on this corner in downtown Nacogdoches for 97 years. First as a drugstore and since 1944 the jewelry store," said owner Jean Stephens. Her earliest memory of the store was her father leaving in the wee hours of the morning to help her grandfather make ice cream to sell from the drug store counter.
For over three generations Kennedy's has been the landmark where people met for parades, possibly even fell in love and returned to make wedding plans.
"In the 40's and 50's and even into the 60's and early 70's this was definitely a place where people came to buy wedding rings and also many people chose their china, crystal and silver," shared Stephens. "Just yesterday a customer said he's been carrying a Kennedy's wedding ring on his hand for 49 years. As a clock chimes in the background, Stephens explains the time has come to say goodbye to those loyal customers.
"We just decided that it was time for Kennedy's to end and we wanted to do it on our terms," explained Stephens. "We didn't want to sell the family business and we just didn't want to fade away like some downtown businesses have done."
The Kennedy's building is also for sale. Prospective buyers have already shown up.
A special invitation going out of business sale ended Wednesday. Discounts will continue through the summer on sparkly items you can hold in your hand. Kennedy's staff knows that's not how people shop these days.
"I think we just live in a different world these days. People what they want is different and how they buy it is different," said Stephens.
Stephens chooses to remain consistent by following her father's teachings of personalized customer service.
"We're forever thankful for our loyal friends and customers."
In retirement, Jean Stephens plans to play bridge, grow flowers and travel -- something she rarely has time for running a shop six days a week.