On Tuesday, when you think of the Baldwyn Christmas parade, think of Stones.
The previous sentence is a play on the advertising slogan Jo Ann Stone has used for many years in her jewelry business, Stones Jewelry, which got its start 41 years ago in Baldwyn. When Baldwyn’s annual Christmas parade begins on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m., the longtime business leader will be leading the way as the Grand Marshal.
Stone said she was surprised when she was approached by Baldwyn Main Street Chamber Director Lori Tucker.
“When Lori told me, I said, ‘Lori, you know I feel honored to be chosen,’” Stone said. “I know there are a lot of other people who deserve this honor.”
Pillar of the community
Stone grew up in the Jericho community in Union County, and has been a Baldwyn resident since 1958. In the nearly 60 years since, Stone and her late husband, Wayne, were active business leaders in the community. While best known for the jewelry stores the family operated, the Stones oversaw an array of businesses in Baldwyn through the years, including operating a dry cleaner, a laundromat, and the Ritz Theatre. They also pre-washed or faded jeans for Blue Bell plants in the area.
The Stones were also active entrepreneurs in the restaurant business, operating a hamburger restaurant in Downtown Baldwyn in a converted bus for a time. They also owned and operated a mini-mart in Red Bay, Ala., where their daughter, Treasa Stone Smith, recalls cooking a tremendous amount of fried chicken and jojo potatoes.
It was in 1976 in Baldwyn and Saltillo that the Stones entered the jewelry business. Through the years the Stones grew and expanded their jewelry store operations to include locations in Baldwyn, Ripley, Holly Springs, Booneville, Tupelo and Senatobia in Mississippi, as well as stores in Red Bay and Hamilton, Ala., and Trenton, Tenn.
When Wayne Stone passed away in July of 1998, the couple still operated five Stones Jewelry locations. Now, Jo Ann Stone continues to enjoy a slightly slower pace in operating two stores: one in Tupelo, which sits near Crosstown, and one in Ripley.
Though the Baldwyn store building was sold many years ago to the Baldwyn School District, the building still bears evidence of the business once housed there. The stained glass diamond in the upper floor window on the building’s façade dates back to when the business operated there.
Jo Ann Stone and her late husband have two children: Treasa Stone Smith and Anthony Stone. Treasa and her husband, Jerry, live in Corinth, while Anthony and his wife, Claire, live in Tishomingo and are entering their 29th year as teachers in the school system there. They have two sons, Jalen and Grayson Stone. Jalen is a graduate of Mississippi State University, while Grayson is a sophomore at Belmont High School.
Jo Ann has been a member of First United Methodist Church for more than 45 years, where she said her church family means and has meant so much to her through the years.