|On Mar. 30, Pratt Community College will recognize their 29th Boyd Davies Executives-in-Residence, the owners and operators of Parsons Jewelry, Wayne and Flo Parsons and Steve and Susan Parsons.
The Boyd Davies Executive-in-Residence program was implemented in 1988 by the Accounting and Business Department to give the students at Pratt Community College the opportunity to interact with a business person or persons from the area and learn about his/her experiences. Nominees come from a large background of fields, exhibit a long and successful career in business, and are willing to share that knowledge with our college community.
“Each year we look for a person or persons who are the epitome of a successful business owner and member of the community,” said Carol Ricke, business instructor. “The Parsons family were chosen because they are a true family business running in a small rural area and they have managed to operate their business successfully for many years. They are a wonderful part of our community.”
Parsons Jewelry is a family owned and operated business that has served the Pratt community for more than 50 years. Wayne Parsons, a watchmaker and repairman, and his wife Flo have owned the jewelry store since 1959 when they moved to Pratt with three children, one of which, Steve, has worked and managed the store for just over four decades alongside his father and mother. Wayne, is now 91-years-old, and still works and repairs jewelry at his store every day.
“I started my first job while I was still in school in Kansas City,” said Wayne. “I worked in a small jewelry trade shop and also repaired watches for UMKC dental students. In 1952 Flo and I and young Steve moved to Salina, Kan. where I worked at a family jewelry store for about 8 years.”
From Salina to Pratt the Parsons family moved and bought the store which was formerly owned by Carl Nease and Willard Hull.
“There were three other jewelry stores in Pratt when we moved here,” said Flo. “We came in on a wing and a prayer and while, through the years, other jewelry stores in the surrounding area have closed we have managed to stay open. We have been blessed with good customers and good health and that is very important.”
Parsons says that building relationships within the community and our surrounding area on a foundation of honesty, integrity and trustworthiness is of the upmost importance to be successful. Another component to their success, Steve says, was the ability to adapt over the years.
“Our store’s décor is antique with the old display cases and such that and that easily leads into the ‘old fashioned’ way we provide customer service with charm,” says Steve. “But in order to grow we have always known how important it is to adjust. Adjust to changes in markets and recession, trends coming and going, among other things you just learn to adapt.”
Supporting other local business is important to the Parsons as well.
“We’ve seen Main St. change through the years,” said Steve. “We have always had great pleasure in helping customers find what they are looking for but if we can’t seem to find what they want we will refer them to shops in town and even call for the customer to see if what they are seeking is available there. In the past, with the variety of businesses on Main Street, people used to walk up and down the block going from store to store. Now our store is more of a destination that a casual shop experience.”
In 1979, Wayne and Flo, bought the neighboring savings and loan office space and expanded their store. Since then the inside hasn’t changed much and neither has the superior customer service.
Parsons Jewelry is located at 303 S. Main and they have a commitment to their customers to help them find the best quality, trending and best value the jewelry industry has to offer. Parsons also prides their complete jewelry and watch repair all done in-house by Wayne and his family.