Lacey business closing doors

Published 1:38 pm Monday, September 8, 2008

Nell Hamrick meticulously wrapped a package with floral wrapping paper and a white-tulle bow as she reminisced about what Lacey Jewelry has meant to her.

“Oh, the people,” Hamrick proclaimed. “I’m going to miss the people who came in on a regular basis. Course, I’ll miss Billie No. 1.”

The Montevallo resident began helping Billie Lacey, owner of Lacey Jewelry, present customers with beautifully wrapped purchases 13 years ago. Now, her good friend has decided she will lock her shop up for the last time after Christmas.

“I’m just 77 years old, and it’s high time to give it up,” Lacey said. “I’m ready to retire, rest and do something else.”

Lacey and her husband began their life together in 1954, just in Montecvallo. Lacey worked for Seaman Timber, where her husband was part owner, for more than a decade, but after a while, Billie was ready for a change. That change came rolling off the lips of friends Herman and Mildred Stone.

The couple had run a jewelry store in Montevallo for 30 years. At the time they were ready to pass their knowledge and inventory on to someone else. In March 1978, Lacey and her husband purchased the diamonds, gold bracelets, crystal and china the Stones owned and opened shop at 623 Main Street.

“I’ve enjoyed learning the jewelry business,” Lacey said. “We’ve had good business from all over – Montevallo, Birmingham, Blount County.”

Lacey said she had quite a time learning how to replace batteries in watches. For years, she said she would take the watches home and make her husband change the batteries out until he finally made her learn how. She said the biggest hurdle, though, was keeping shoppers in Montevallo.

“It’s hard to get people to shop in town. First, there was the Galleria and then the Summit,” Lacey said. “But it’s the personal touch that shops like ours provide that I think keeps customers coming back year after year.”

Items in the store will be anywhere from 30-70 percent off, as Lacey tries to sell the remaining merchandise in the store.

Lacey said she plans to keep herself involved with the town her and her husband built their life in by helping with activities at the First United Methodist Church and keeping in touch with long-time customers and friends.