In an era of big-box stores, W.P. Shelton Jewelers harkens back to a time when business was done with a handshake and a smile.
Family-owned for 75 years, William Paul (W.P.) Shelton founded his store in 1945 on Howard Avenue in Biloxi after learning how to repair airplane instrument panels during World War II. In 1972, he relocated to Highway 90 in Ocean Springs, and in 1986, he sold the business to his daughter and son-in-law, Cathy and Terry Reed. As Ocean Springs experienced a revitalization in the 1990s, the couple bought the building downtown on Government Street, where the store is still located.
The W.P. Shelton story continues with the founder’s granddaughter, Dianne Reed Murray, who says the store’s multi-generational legacy “is something we are very proud of.”
“We get to know our customers and truly care about them,” Murray adds. “We love when existing clients bring in children or grandchildren for their jewelry needs — continuing the legacy.”
Although steeped in tradition, W.P. Shelton isn’t stuck in the past style-wise. The store carries top-quality diamonds with timeless appeal, Murray says, while also offering of-the-moment pieces, like stackable rings and bracelets in yellow, white or rose metals.
“If we don’t have exactly the style our client is looking for, we will get it in as quickly as next day if possible,” she adds. “We work hard to know the latest looks and where to find them fast.”
According to Murray, W.P. Shelton doesn’t have a typical customer. Every age and demographic comes through the store’s doors, she says, and their reasons are equally diverse — from needing a new watch band or battery to buying a wedding ring set.
“We have also been re-purposing family heirlooms to bring them into the 21st century,” Murray says. “These are all one-of-a-kind pieces that come to life through our client’s vision.”
Regularly worn jewelry requires maintenance, so Murray recommends stopping in for a free cleaning and inspection, which could prevent loss of a stone. No matter what brings people to W.P. Shelton, the store’s website states, they can trust staff to match them with the perfect piece while providing exceptional service marked by honesty and integrity.
Heading into to the next 75 years, Murray says, “I hope to keep our store fresh for new clients with enough tradition for our established clients.”
IF YOU GO
1516 Government St., Ocean Springs
Tuesday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m., closed Sunday and Monday
Facebook: W.P. Shelton Jewelers