Diamond Jewelry Company is celebrating 60 years and a family tradition that spans 114 years.
Moody Stinson and his wife, Judy, opened the Main Street business in 1960. He was following in the footsteps of his father, James Albert Stinson, and grandfather, James Arthur Stinson, who began the jewelry business legacy in 1906.
Moody and Judy had three sons – Jamie, Shawn and David – who continued the tradition into its fourth generation. David went into partnership with his father in historic downtown McMinnville. Today, he oversees the daily operation of the business.
To honor Diamond Jewelry Company’s 60 years, David and his wife, Melanie, began an interior renovation last year that eventually made its way outside.
“We started inside,” said Melanie. “We were going to paint. You know how that can turn into a whole project. So, we redid the inside completely. When we finished inside, I said ‘Dave, now we need to do something with the outside’ and he mentioned that the sign was still on the outside of the building.”
David added, “My father didn’t keep much, but he kept that sign. Due to its condition, he moved it from the front of the building to the back.”
Although the exact year for that move is unknown, the sign could be seen from West Colville Street. Construction to the rear of the building would eventually block that view of the sign, its luminous tubes extinguished and condition worsening as each year rolled by.
“We wanted to restore it,” said Melanie. “It is part of this business’ history. I knew it would cost a lot of money. I went onto Main Street McMinnville’s website and grants were available. I’ve done several grants for the judicial system and thought why not do one for my husband’s business? Then, I called Rachel Killebrew (Main Street McMinnville Design Committee co-chair). She has helped so much. We couldn’t have done this without her.”
The neon sign was removed and its former glory restored. After being placed onto the front of the building, Main Street McMinnville’s Design Committee unanimously approved David and Melanie to receive the Golden Award, a recognition named in honor of Jeff Golden and his years of devotion to advancing Main Street McMinnville’s efforts and downtown’s revitalization. It’s given to people who exhibit the same dedication.
An award presentation stirred fond memories.
“In restoring this sign, they have restored fond memories for me,” said Golden. “I remember when this store opened in 1960. Before then, I ate my hamburgers here. It offered the best hamburgers in Middle Tennessee. If I remember right, it was a drink and hamburger for 35 cents. I’d go to the movies for a dime and get a nickel popcorn. Dad would give me half a dollar and I’d entertain myself all evening.”
Killebrew stated, “Mother would give me 25 cents and I could get popcorn, Coke and go to the movie all day and go home with change. That’s how old we are.”
McMinnville Street McMinnville’s Design Committee presents awards to celebrate and appreciate downtown building owners and their building restoration efforts.
The Stinsons expressed appreciation for the award and voiced enthusiasm to be part of Main Street’s revitalization.
“I drove down Main Street the other day and there were three buildings being worked on,” said Melanie. “Just to be a part of Main Street right now is exciting.”
David said, “Yes, it is.”
The couple hope to usher in the fifth generation to keep the legacy. Their son, Abram, a 10th grader, has expressed a desire to continue the tradition.