A tangible piece of history continues to thrive in Pascagoula, Miss., one of the oldest businesses in Jackson County: Johnson Brothers Jewelry Company. A fine jewelry boutique featuring estate jewelry, wedding registries, gifts, and custom wrapping, the elegant, well-appointed shop has operated since 1946, serving second and third generations of Pascagoula’s families.
“We’ve been told that stepping into our store is in some ways like going back in time, with our quality merchandise, attention to detail, and focus on personal relationships,” says owner Debbie Willis. “But what we really love is when people come in and are wowed by all the new jewelry lines, high-fashion designer pieces, and popular brands we carry.”
Hardy Johnson and his wife Earline created a piece of history when they opened their doors almost 75 years ago. The store was more than just a place to buy jewelry; it was a gathering place for locals, a family tradition, and a community landmark. The Johnsons insisted on providing their customers with a special experience each time they walked in and Earline was a stickler when it came to presentation.
Earline was meticulous about how the store looked and how the jewelry was wrapped. Early on Earline insisted on wrapping gifts in the most exquisite way with a large hand-made bow on top. She wanted the fine gifts from her store to have a ‘personal’ touch and no gift left the store without a Johnson Brothers’ bow on top.
“Today our bows are as famous as our merchandise,” cites Laura Burrow, daughter of Debbie and manager of Johnson Brothers. “We will not let a gift leave our store without the Johnson Brothers’ bow on top. Sometimes during the busy Christmas season we’ll have a little back-up at the bow machines, but the customers don’t mind. The extra time it takes gives us a chance to visit and connect with our customers even more.”
Hardy passed away in 1987 but Earline continued running the store on her own. She had added to their product line, carrying china, silver, baby gifts and even stationery.
Today, the family tradition continues with Debbie and Laura at the helm, committed to maintaining the same attention to detail on which Earline would have insisted. They cultivate personal relationships with both customers and vendors, and carefully hand-select all merchandise. The mother-daughter team is joined by sisters Cynthia Walker Zubic and Kaye Walker Doyle, Debbie’s other daughters Rachael Willis Ashbaker and Katherine Willis Swetman, as well as Dylan Kirksey Demouey and Di Faccini – all Jackson County natives.
The store is located at 511 Delmas Avenue in Pascagoula, and is open Monday through Friday from 10 am until 5 pm.