By Kristin Zodrow, TSB Staff
The staff at Griffin Jewelry has witnessed the growth of McKinney over the decades, from only a few shops to the city that was named the second best place to live by Money Magazine. Growing alongside the city, the team at Griffin Jewelry now calls the Northwest corner of Eldorado Parkway and Central Expressway home. Cherye Walker has been a part of this family tradition for nearly 29 years of business. As I sit in the new store for an interview with her, a returning customer walks in, not to shop, but just to see the new location. It is this kind of family atmosphere that has made Griffin Jewelry a McKinney staple.
What kind of community do you think you have found here in McKinney?
CW: Everybody, they know us; they trust us. We have been able to get involved with a lot of the charities now. We are big supporters of a lot of them in town. ManeGait, we are one of their big sponsors. The Smiles Charity, we are one of the big sponsors. That [event] just happened. MEF (McKinney Education Foundation) and the Lovejoy Foundation, too. We used to donate just 50 dollars or something, but now we are one of the top sponsors. When we give back, it comes back every time.
Do you have customers who have been coming here consistently over the last 29 years?
CW: Yes, a lot of them. And now their kids are buying wedding rings from us.
What kind of change have you seen in McKinney over these years?
CW: Well there was nothing on the west side; no businesses were on the west side of Central Expressway when we opened in ‘85. There was one McDonald’s and really just two pizza places. There was no Wal-Mart. So, a lot of changes.
What have these changes brought for you and the store?
CW: When we opened we were one of the only centers in town. As McKinney grew and changed, we had to grow and change too. We moved over to the west side in May.
You recently moved. Can you explain why you did so?
CW: Primarily, we needed more space, and there is just a lot more foot traffic over here. We were just ready for a change. We love it.
With hard economic times, to what do you attribute your success and ability to stay afloat when other businesses have not had the same outcome?
CW: In 2007, we introduced a line of fashion jewelry that took off like crazy. And now we’ve introduced a lot more. So, along with our fine jewelry, wedding rings and diamonds and things, we have some fashion jewelry also.
During the recession, did you see a big drop in traffic in the store?
CW: No. We introduced some things that they could afford. Even in down times, we still had things to offer. There are always people getting married; there are always anniversaries and birthdays. Jewelry is a pick me up gift anyways. Even if you’re having a bad month, just a small piece of jewelry can make you happy.
With other cities such as Allen becoming so built up with shopping areas and boutiques, are you still confident in McKinney being the place that your business will continue to be?
CW: Yep, 100 percent. The people that live here still want the small town feel even though we aren’t small town anymore. They like the family run business, where they get the personal treatment, not the chain stores.
To you, what is the importance of “mom and pop” stores in McKinney?
CW: Our customers see the same faces every time they come in here, and we know them by name. We can be trusted, just that kind of family feel.
How has your store been able to follow style trends to stay relevant in the eyes of shoppers?
CW: We change our inventory; we are always getting more inventory. [We] are changing the way we market it and display it. If something goes out of style, it’s out of our store and the next new thing is in.
What plans do you and your team have for Griffin in the future?
CW: We are going to keep introducing more inventory and we are also, this fall, we are starting an online store for just our fashion jewelry called Ruby Blue. We are working hard on that right now.
For you, what is McKinney in one word?
CW: Loyal. The people here are so loyal to us. If I ever saw them shopping in another jewelry store, I would be shocked because they are just very loyal.
Griffin Jewelry is located at 2811 Craig Drive, McKinney, TX 75070. Visit their website here.