East Tennessee Diamond celebrates 35 years of business
Randy DeBord, far right, Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce board chairman, presents a declaration of appreciation regarding the 35th Anniversary of East Tennessee Diamond to owners Ericka Harville Goode and her father, Chris Harville, during the Sept. 5 celebration held at the store in downtown Morristown.
Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce Chairman Randy DeBord has presided over his share of ribbon cuttings, anniversary celebrations and networking opportunities so far in 2013. None have hit quite as close to home, literally, as the Sept. 5 festivities centered on the 35th anniversary of East Tennessee Diamond.
“This is one that I’m particularly proud of,” DeBord said. “Chris Harville has done a wonderful job. He is the guy who started everything going back downtown, with his investment down here and the business man that he is.”
Chris represents the second of three generations of the Harville family that have owned and operated the jewelry store in Morristown since 1978. The company was founded by his father, Virgil. His mother, Jean, helped run the business that started out on the third floor of the former Hamilton Bank Building located on West Main Street. Chris joined the business in 1979 at the age of 21 and his daughter, Ericka Harville Goode — representing the third generation — joined her father in 2002.
When asked if he anticipated the longevity of the company’s success as a young man, Harville said, “Sure. We were very determined to do business, and my dad taught us all kinds of things, as far as being in business, good work, selling, how to run an honest business, so yes, I thought it would continue. And it’s going to continue for the next 35 years.”
DeBord graduated high school a few years after Harville and couldn’t resist noting the age difference during his remarks to Chamber ambassadors, store staff and customers who attended the morning celebration. A verbal back and forth between the two men, who now own neighboring businesses in the downtown area, included references to an 80s hairstyle called the mullet, or fish, (DeBord) and a startling resemblance to country singer Vince Gill (Harville).
“I think everyone knows Chris and the staff here” DeBord said. “They take very good care of people and do a wonderful job for the community. They are an anchor to this downtown revitalization and something to be very proud of.”
Goode expressed appreciation to those attending the celebration and said, “In 1978, the average gallon of gas was 63 cents, a dozen eggs cost 43 cents, gold hit an all time high of $200 an ounce and East Tennessee Diamond was founded.”
Goode later told the crowd that the current price of gold stands at $1,400.
“My grandfather started the business with only a desk and a safe. He had the hopes of making it what it is today. In 1982, East Tennessee Diamond saw the need to expand and that’s when we founded a second location, which was the former bank building on the corner of Henry and West Main streets. Our main reason for opening a second location was that we needed ground floor exposure.
In 1989 we moved to our current location and merged the two entities together. When we moved into one, we expanded a lot. It is safe to say that downtown Morristown and Main Street have always been where our heart has been.”
Before she introduced the company staff, Goode said. “I am striving to take our company to the next level. I am currently enrolled in graduate gemology school.
“Larry Long is our jeweler,” Goode said. “He has been with us for 29 years and has grown with our company. Kristine Emmons moved from Kansas three years ago and is our awards and engraving imaging. Judy Hogan worked with my grandfather at Sterchi’s jewelry before he opened his own business has been with us 18 months. Jade Morgan has been with us, going on six months and works upstairs with Kristine in our engraving department. We’ve got Debora Aarons who joined us two months ago and has since become as asset to our company. We’d like to welcome Jessica Napier, as well, who has been with us for a week.”
The store features a wide variety of quality jewelry, and the selection is enhanced by frequent trips to major jewelry markets made by both Harville and Goode.
“We shop all of the major shows; we know the trends before they come here,” Harville said. “We are the ones who usually bring the trends to East Tennessee and so we’re all the time looking for new things. It’s hard for us to travel together, but she’ll go to one show and I’ll go to another.”
Harville said he is “extremely proud” that the family business is now into its third generation.
“Very few businesses will survive the second generation and then the third generation is usually unheard of. Ericka has developed into a really good business woman and she’s still operating with the very same principles we were founded under.”
“During the 35 years of being open, our mission has always been a tradition of integrity, trust, high ethical standards, knowledge of our products and services and fair pricing and value to our customers,” Goode said. “We know that we couldn’t be where we are today without our great community, our great customers and help from the good Lord above … Here’s to the next 35 years.”
See upcoming articles in the Citizen Tribune for news of continued business growth in the downtown area.
- By Glenna Howington, Tribune Staff Writer