100 years in business

DuBose celebrates work, community

by Clay Neely - clay@newnan.com


Photo by Clay Neely

“People come in the store for a happy reason and I want them to leave our store even happier.”

When a local business can celebrate more than 100 years of success, it’s certainly worth taking note.

When Ray and Linda DuBose began their search for the perfect location to relocate their Florida-based jewelry businesses in 1990, they weren’t even aware of Newnan. The couple had searched throughout the entire southeastern U.S. with a business broker but didn’t seem to have much luck.

After another unsuccessful day of visiting potential establishments on the north side of Atlanta, the broker emphatically suggested the DuBose family visit Newnan.

“He said, ‘I really want to show you a place, I think you’ll love it,’” recalled DuBose. “Sure enough, the moment that we walked into R.S. Mann, it felt like the two-year search was finally over. We just knew it was the right place.”

The feeling was reciprocated when Mr. Mann told the family that he, too, had been waiting for a couple like them to come along. “And it just gelled in that moment,” DuBose recalled.

After purchasing R.S. Mann Jewelers in 1990, DuBose refrained from changing the name of the store.

“For the longest time, I had people asking why I didn’t change the name to DuBose Jewelers. But when you buy a business as unique as this, you want to keep the name familiar,” he said. “I wanted to preserve that feeling of continuity within the community.”

Over time, DuBose began using his name in advertising and people got to know him through his involvement within the community. He’s served as a member of the Newnan Rotary Club, Main Street Newnan and the Downtown Development community.

In 2012, the company celebrated its 100th anniversary and DuBose felt that it was the right time to change the name.

While he’s been a Newnan resident for almost 25 years, Dubose grew up in the jewelry business. A fourth-generation jeweler, DuBose has witnessed many changes in his industry over the years.

“I’d say some of the most significant changes are the availability of information and product on the Internet along with the abundance of retail locations – these stand out,” DuBose said.

Even in the new world of online competition, where plenty of selections are at a person’s fingertips, DuBose’s greatest strength as a retailer shares a common thread with most of the other successful brick-and-mortar stores.

“Customers enjoy and appreciate being able to speak to someone who has an extensive field of knowledge,” DuBose said. “Craftsmanship and experience, those are the hallmarks of the jewelry business that haven’t changed over the years. The understanding of your trade and the personal responsibility that you share with your customers will never be obsolete.”

It’s this ingrained experience that was on display and honored when he was named by the Georgia Jewelers Association as winner of the Georgia Jewelry Design in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

DuBose also noted that one aspect of the jewelry business that one may not immediately recognize generally revolves around happy occasions. Citing the birth of a child, a graduation, anniversaries, weddings, and birthdays – he readily admits that because of the inherent nature of his business, DuBose is helping clients find the perfect item for a celebration that, in turn, makes his job even more enjoyable.

“People come in the store for a happy reason and I want them to leave our store even happier,” DuBose said.

DuBose also feels strongly about the power of the local, small business. Two years ago, he began doing radio ads for not only his businesses but for his neighboring Main Street merchants as well.

During the recent economic downturn, Clear Channel lost contact with many of the local businesses in the community. In response to this, their goal was to select an organization within the community to get them more exposure. Through a relationship with Clear Channel and Main Street Newnan, DuBose believes the partnership has worked out well.

“It makes them sound more local instead of promoting national advertisers,” he said.

So when your store is celebrating more than 100 years of business, it’s only natural to inquire into its secret of longevity.

“I feel that it means not only taking a personal interest in your business and customers, but you have to enjoy doing what you do,” DuBose said. “When you show up every day, ready to take care of things, it’s a reciprocal feeling that is felt on both sides of the counter.”

When asked about his future goals for the company, DuBose sees no reason to change anything. As he’s been blessed with good health and enjoys his work, DuBose would ultimately enjoy seeing the day when he can pass along the family business to the younger generation.

“My 10-year-old granddaughter did her science project on gems and made a piece of jewelry,” he smiled. “So maybe there’s an interest there.”

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