PROFILE: A Gem of a Jeweler

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 28, 2010

IRONTON — Like a diamond, this family business proves hard, but always cuts through, surviving the ages. A ring around the community, landmark Allyn’s Jewelers is celebrating 80 years.

They’ve played wing man to tongue-tied boys on one knee in engagement proposal. Tied satin ribbons around bone china and offered up silver solitaires of romance.

Today, the Ironton family marks milestones and memories, serving Lawrence County lives.

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Ask Tom Allyn to reminiscence on treasured moments and he’s quick to proffer tiny nuggets of giggles, glory and grief.

“I’ve opened the store late on Christmas Eve to let a customer pick up his purchase and set-up clocks on Christmas Day. I’ve had families take pictures of their daughters getting their ears pierced,” the jeweler said. “We’ve designed jewelry from family heirlooms and made pendants from couple’s wedding bands after the loss of a spouse.”

For Allyn, such sterling service doesn’t seem like much.

“These little stories aren’t anything special, just things we do everyday.”

This sapphire customer commitment was passed over the generations and continues each workday for Allyn.

His family’s sparkling biz started in the fall of 1930 quite by happenstance.

H. Ted Allyn joined his wife, Martha for a jaunt to Ironton to check out a jewelry store auction at 309 Center St.

A risk-taker, Ted bought what jewelry was left at the end of the sale, with big dreams and a grand opening planned for Allyn’s Jewelers.

Times were lean around the little shop, trying to make ends meet in the midst of the Depression. Families could scarcely put meals on the dinner table, much less put away enough money for pearls. Coupled with that, Ironton seemed to flood yearly, risking merchandise — a likely choker for the enterprising family, Allyn detailed.

Still, their hearts were recalled, stepping up for soldiers and the World War II efforts, selling war bonds.

Proudly, by 1954, with entrepreneurial spirit, the couple had put aside enough money to move to the corner of Third Street and Park Avenue to a freshly-painted store.

Their son, Tom joined the small staff in 1958, eventually taking the leadership helm after his father passed away in 1989.

Business is booming these days, serving the Tri-State from the South Second Street storefront.

It’s tradition, whether purchasing a Valentine’s sweetheart promise ring, a distinctive Masonic or Shrine induction piece or a Holy Cross or Rosary for the First Communion.

Four generations of shoppers have allowed the Allyn family into their lives.

Nowadays, the younger set pops in for in-style bead bracelets and necklaces to celebrate personalities and hobbies.

Once inside, there’s free ring cleaning, quick on-site inspection and repairs.

Patrons come from as far as Florida, Texas, California and Alaska for the homegrown helping hands.

Allyn’s has a wedding consultant on-staff, plus two graduates of the Gemological Institute of America’s diamond-grading course, and is a member of the Independent Jewelers Association — the largest buying group in the industry.

Important for high-schoolers, the longtime business has also won the Jostens Inc. “One of the Best” award five times, receiving recognition as an outstanding retailer of class rings, Allyn pointed out.

An Allyn’s specialty, the showcase teems with new and pre-owned fine watches. They also customize and remount older jewelry, transforming dated styles into “something brand new and exciting,” Allyn touted.

“We’ve always aimed to sell high-quality jewelry and home decorations at fair prices. You can buy a diamond engagement ring from $150 or cut crystal, brass and clocks, in a wide selection of style and price,” the businessman elaborated.

The secret to their shining, venerable success is simple — stay in-step with the community.

Ted Allyn served as president of the Ironton Board of Trade — was essentially known as the Ironton Chamber of Commerce, and as president of the Lions Club alongside numerous neighborhood activities.

With that, Tom Allyn served as president of the Ironton Jaycees, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and as a board member of the Ironton Business Association.

“When you come into Allyn’s, we want you to feel comfortable. Our staff is attentive, without being pushy. And your satisfaction is our main concern,” Allyn said.

“Over the years, we have laughed with you, danced at your weddings and cried with you over your losses. But, above all, we’ve treated you honestly and fairly.”