By: Scott Bolejack
The Selma Town Council on Aug. 13th presented its Business Excellence Award to Selma Jewelry. “Through the years, Selma Jewelry has been a mainstay in uptown Selma, through good economic times, bad economic times,” Mayor Cheryl Oliver said in presenting the award to owner Kim Wooten. “They’ve endured.”
Selma’s tagline says the town is the “crossroads of tradition and innovation,” and Selma Jewelry exemplifies that, Oliver said, noting that Wooten added a women’s boutique to her shop to better serve customers. “It was a really, really good marketing play,” the mayor said. “Let a lady buy a new blouse or outfit, and then of course, there could be the earrings and bracelets to go with it.”
Wooten noted that her father and uncle launched the store in 1971. “I was born in December of 1970, so it’s exactly as old as I am,” she said.
Wooten said her uncle tended the store while her father kept his day job driving a linen truck, using that income to aid the fledgling business. But “he went to watchmaker school at night, so he was willing to put in the work,” she said. “He always was.”
Her father expected a similar work ethic from her, Wooten said. “When I was 12, he put me to work,” she said. “And I would get invited to the beach, and he would say, ‘Well, you’re scheduled to work,’ like I was the most important employee that he had at 12 years old. But I think by doing that, he wanted me to understand that when you say you’re going to be somewhere, you need to be somewhere no matter how old you are or how much help you really are.”
“So I just am honored to carry on what he started,” she added.
As an uptown business owner, Wooten applauded Selma’s efforts to revitalize its central business district. “I remember when downtown had … two hardware stores,” she said. “We had a record store. We had Selma Department Store. Every Easter dress I had came from there. And so I’m really excited to think about that Selma could come back and be something like it once was and hopefully even better.”