Tomblin’s going into 2020 ready for another 55 years
Celebrating the past, remembering Chloe Epperly
In 1964, Wayne and Tommie Tomblin purchased Kenneth Brown’s Jewelry Store on the Cassville square and established Tomblin’s Jewelry and Gifts.
The Tomblins were married in 1945 in a twist of fate that began a love story for the ages. When they were asked to be witnesses at their friends wedding, and their names was put on the bride and groom spot by mistake. The two looked at each other and decided right then that they would be married.
The love story of Wayne and Tommie Tomblin has had a hand in many other love stories through the years by way of Tomblin’s Jewelry and Gifts.
Over the years, the business grew, and it changed locations three times until finding its home in the old Barry County Bank, its current location.
In 1986, Wayne Tomblin passed away, and Chloe Epperly began to manage the store for her mother, Tommie.
A year later, a fire broke out in the upstairs portion of what is now Whitley’s Pharmacy, due to an electrical repair.
In June 2017, the Barry County Museum posted a photo of the aftermath of the fire on Facebook, to which Chloe Epperly responded, “I remember laying in my bed with my windows open after church, and I hollered at mom, ‘I think the store alarm is going off,’ she got a call just after that.”
The business was relocated to the west side of the square until the current building was built. During this time, Chloe Epperly would receive a police escort to and from the bank to secure the fine jewelry during the closed hours of the day.
After the fire, within the original archway of the store, there was a frame for a divided sign, which is now located in the back of the Tomblin’s.
There were enough spaces in the sign that it was refurbished and now contains the letters of Tomblin’s in stained glass, then the archway was rebuilt.
During this time the Jewelry Store grew to be much more than just fine jewelry. They added many fine gift lines at reasonable prices to service a need for the community.
In 1996, Tommie Tomblin passed away on Nov. 30. At that time, Chloe Epperly and Dana Kammerlohr became co-owners of Tomblin’s Jewelry and Gifts, and Chloe managed the store.
Aside from helping families begin and offering lifetime memories, Tomblin’s prides itself on customer service.
Offering direct sales, gift wrapping, jewelry repair, engraving, bridal registry, class ring orders and much more, Tomblin’s Jewelry and Gifts in Cassville aims to promote American made products and support local artists by carrying their lines.
Chloe Epperly died on Nov. 9 at 68 years old.
Since her passing, the family has gathered to help run things at Tomblin’s.
Amy Stephenson, one of Chloe’s daughters, said eventually she will most likely be in a managerial position at the store.
“At this point, everyone is pitching in, children and grandchildren, and everyone kind of has their own job to do,” she said. “Charli Jo Epperly is handling the online stuff and advertising.”
In June, Stephenson’s husband and her daughter, Mattie Stephenson, will be going to jewelry repair school.
“Mattie is already kind of handling the day to day operations and taking care of orders and inventory, but this was something in the works before Chloe’s passing,” she said. “It really bothered her when she couldn’t do the in house repairs anymore and it was important to her to bring that back.
“I remember my grandpa, Wayne Tomblin, would say, ‘If you take care of them when they buy their class rings, the first time they will have an experience with a jewelry store, they will come back to you in the future,’ and he was right.”
As for the future of Tomblin’s Jewelry an Gifts, the crew plans to focus on expanding their online presence and offering more sales that way.
“It is important to us to keep that face-to-face customer service as well, but this is a way for us to grow,” Stephenson said. “A gentleman came in recently and said he comes in every year to buy his wife a gift, he said he has to drive over an hour and he knows one day he won’t be able to do that so he hopes we will be able to ship something to him.”
Stephenson mentioned her mother’s charm bracelet and how loaded down it was with charms.
“It was great to look at them, and talk about the stories with each one,” she said. “We always laughed during communion at church, because all you could hear was her charm bracelet jingling around.”