It all started when Sissy Jones spotted an actual log cabin for sale as she drove along U.S. Highway 79S in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, one day back in 1970. Intrigued, the avid antiques collector pulled off the road, called the number on the sign, and made a life-changing decision: to rent the $50-a-month space. She stocked it with antiques from her own home, and opened Sissy’s Log Cabin for sales and appraisals. Jones soon evolved into jewelry, honing her skills by studying at the Gemological Institute of America, and acquiring an antique jewelry appraiser’s license. Business boomed, and by 1991 it was time to expand.
Now with a staff of 30-plus and four locations (including a new and improved 12,000-square-foot log cabin where the original once stood), Sissy’s Log Cabin is a thriving, family-owned business. We caught up with CEO Bill Jones, son of founder Sissy Jones, to talk strategies, service, and store experience.
You have multiple locations in Arkansas—Pine Bluff (the original), Little Rock, Jonesboro—and a store in Memphis, TN. How does location influence what you stock? Do you tailor it to different demands at each store?
Bill Jones: Yes. The diversity can be challenging because each location has different demographics, so we work closely with each store to make sure we’re providing the appropriate product assortment for their customers.
You have a great roster of brands in store—Gabriel & Co., David Yurman, and Rolex, to name a few. How do you decide which brands to stock, and are you open to trying up-and-coming designers?
BJ: We’re open to all vendors, no matter the size. We work through customer demand and rely on research to make sure the vendor fits our model. We’re concerned with customer service, product availability, and profitability of the line.
What’s the hardest part of any given day working in retail?
BJ: Remaining price competitive while still providing a wide range of products.
There’s a lot of talk about the “store experience,” things retailers can to make shopping in-store more than just shopping. What do you do or hope to do to stand out in this area?
BJ: That’s been the foundation of our company since 1970. We continually strive to enhance the customer experience and we take the approach that the customer is always right.
We’re a quarter of the way through 2018! What are your goals for the year, and do you feel you’re on your way to achieving them?
BJ: We are always looking for growth opportunities through merchandising, and through staff training and development. We feel like we’re achieving our goals through our dedication to these foundations, so we’re optimistic that we will achieve our goals for 2018.
What are you most looking forward to at LUXURY by JCK this year?
BJ: New and innovative jewelry.
See Bill Jones’ full video interview, “Why I JCK” here.