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Legacy business spotlight: Johnson Bros. Jewelry

A place to buy 'pretty things' since 1946

Earline Johnson was adored for her kindness and sweet nature, but it was her determination that ensured her business would thrive for generations. 

She and her husband, Hardy, opened Johnson Brothers Jewelry Company in 1946 at its current location in downtown Pascagoula. The store was one of six of the same name owned and operated by Hardy’s brothers throughout the Southeast, making the enterprise a true family affair. 

When Hardy died in 1987, Earline pressed on — striving to maintain Johnson Bros.’ reputation for quality jewelry and superior service. After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, she was adamant that the store re-open as quickly as possible, insisting that “people need to have a place to buy pretty things.”

Hardy and Earline Johnson founded Johnson Bros. in Pascagoula in 1946 (Store shown here in the 1950s).

Today, as Johnson Bros. marks 75 years in business, owner Debbie Willis and manager Laura Willis Burrow have shown the same resolve during a global pandemic. While COVID disrupted many aspects of life, couples still got married and engaged; babies still arrived, and families still celebrated holidays and life milestones. 

“We at Johnson Bros. Jewelry were so grateful that our customers continued to choose us to share in these special occasions,” Willis says. “Although things may have looked a little different with masks and curbside gift pickup, we felt strongly, as Mrs. Johnson did after Hurricane Katrina, that it’s essential that people have a place to buy ‘pretty things’ – especially during tough times.” 

Willis has been working at the store intermittently since high school, and she returned to Pascagoula with her husband after college. Her three daughters spent many summers working at Johnson Bros., and Burrow, the youngest, joined the business after graduating from Ole Miss. 

Like the founders, the women are proud of the business’s legacy — and pleased to provide that extra something that makes customers smile when they walk through the door. 

“We take customer service to an entirely new level,” Willis says. “Our customers are our family, and we’re honored each time they choose us to help commemorate their special occasions.” 

Considered a local landmark by many, Johnson Bros. offers a vast array of estate and antique jewelry along with its selection of fine and boutique jewelry, gifts and home accents. 

“Our bridal registry is a favorite,” Willis says. “We offer fine crystal, china, sterling, as well as pottery and everyday dinnerware.” 

Each year, Willis and Burrow visit numerous markets across the country in search of special and unique items. In curating their product collection, they strive to strike the right balance between timeless classics and the latest trends. 

To this day, gifts leave the store topped with the signature “Johnson’s bow.” Earline Johnson started the tradition — believing that the fine items sold at Johnson Bros. deserved a custom touch. 

“This store was the center of her world, and she could be found here full time, six days a week, until well into her 80s.” Willis says. “We are so blessed to have had such wonderful founders as her and Hardy. We strive daily to keep their memories alive in our hearts.” 

The legacy may be a lot to live up to, but Willis and Burrow delight in the challenge. From choosing an engagement ring to finding the perfect gift, they treasure the looks on customers’ faces when they get it just right. 

“When someone finds the perfect commemoration for these occasions at our store,” Willis says, “there’s nothing more rewarding.” 


511 Delmas Ave., Pascagoula
(228) 762-3266 | Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

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