Ruth Haney, who has been at work on Main Street in Grayson since 1961, smiles as she remembers the city’s past.
“Everything we needed, we had on Main Street. We did. You name it. We had doctors, dentists, a jewelry store, two movie theaters, several clothing stores, three grocery stores, three hardware stores – Davis, Farmers and Boggs, two banks and a hospital. I had two babies down there!” Haney said, taking a break from reading a newspaper shortly after opening Haney’s Jewelry one day last week.
“I’ve been here a long time. I’ve been here 58 years back in March. I started in 1961,” she said. “I sold a lot of watches back then – men’s and ladies. I once sold enough watches to win a World’s Fair trip. That was with Elgin watches. That was back in the 60’s. And of course I sold diamonds and wedding bands. I still sell a lot of watches and batteries, but I don’t have any ‘wind-ups’ anymore. I mostly do repairs now.”
With only a hint of pride, Haney points out she has owns several watches, but has worn the same Citizen brand timepiece for the past 30 years without fail.
“I’ve never have touched it,” she said with a smile.
Diamonds, she said, remain a staple in the jewelry business, although customer tastes have changed somewhat through the years.
“We always sell diamonds – necklaces, ear rings and rings,” Haney said. “Now, we sell a lot of silver jewelry. I started selling it about two years ago.”
The décor of the cozy shop on Main Street has recently been renovated, although the shopkeeper’s love of family, as well as hometown history, remains on prominent display. Portraits adorn the walls behind the glass counters, along with photos and story clippings from the past.
“You’d be surprised at the stuff I have in here,” she said, laughing as she confessed to keeping an abundance of aged newspapers and other historic notes on file in back.
“Best of all, I can remember all of that,” she said, later adding she has maintained a daily diary of her observations along Main Street for many years. Those diaries will someday go to her granddaughter, Amber, Haney said.
Asked about the hours she keeps, Haney giggles and grabs a small sign which makes light of the issue before stating, “I’m usually here at 8 o’clock and close at 5, except on Saturday when I usually close at three, but I can wait until later if someone needs something.”
Her business philosophy is not complicated.
“You’ve got to be honest with people and you want them to trust you. That was my advice to my favorite son-in-law, Bobby James (James Family Outfitters at 507 North Carol Malone Boulevard in Grayson), when he started in business.”
The jewelry store at 117 East Main Street in Grayson has been far more than just a place to work, Haney said.
“This is my second home. Actually, I feel better in this place than I do at home. I raised my children right here!”
Haney said anyone with questions is welcome to drop by, or call her at (606) 474-6588.
“That has been my phone number ever since I came here,” she added.