Allyn#039;s Jewelers celebrates 75th year

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 3, 2005

How many treasured moments have been marked by that trademark white satin inlay, with the gold lettering reading "Allyn's Jewelers - Ironton, Ohio?"

How many birthdays, anniversaries or engagements have started with the opening of a box from Allyn's?

Now the Ironton staple is having its own special moment: The celebration of its 75th year of service.

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It is appropriate that the name of the business and the city it occupies should share the inlay, because the two stories intertwine throughout decades of special occasions.

The story begins with H.T. "Ted" Allyn, current owner Tom Allyn's father, who purchased the original store at 309 Center St., and a little inventory. The store moved to Park Avenue for 36 years beginning in 1954 and to its current 502 S. Second St., location in 1990.

Tom Allyn returned from living in Columbus to begin working in the store in 1958.

However, Allyn's storytelling is halted as a customer enters the store. Allyn stops almost mid-sentence to go to his customer's side. He greets her by her first name and helps her get a necklace appraised.

The customer, Martha Phillips, received an engagement ring sold by Ted Allyn, and she's been a customer ever since Š or more accurately, her husband has.

"My husband comes down and buys me a birthday or a Christmas gift a couple times a year," Phillips said. "Everything (Tom) sells is very unique, very pretty."

Unique items are one of the things that Allyn says sets him apart from some of the chain stores. Just as an example, he points out a couple of new pieces he just got in that have ancient Chinese poker chips as their centerpiece.

Even more special to Allyn than his stock are his employees, which he credits with much of the store's longevity.

Allyn's devotion to his employees isn't just talk. When he moved the operation to Second Street, it was largely due to a the needs of a single employee that Allyn wanted to accommodate.

"Because of the handicapped inaccessibility (of the Park Avenue store) Š we moved here. Our watchmaker was crippled and couldn't get up and down stairs," Allyn said. "This place is all one floor. We moved mainly to accommodate him."

Perhaps the real secret to Allyn's success isn't found in merchandise or prices, perhaps it is that customers received his attention so completely, not just in the service, but in the way Allyn makes them feel.

"Primarily, we love our customers. We don't gouge them on price, we give them service after the sale. We have quality merchandise," Allyn said. "You're going to wear it, you're going to enjoy it. It's nothing you're going to be ashamed of. When you say it came from Allyn's, I want you to say it with a smile.

"(Customers) are either the best advertising I could have or the worst."