NATIONAL JEWELER 17 they let him leave in time to attend, but they will expect him to do so. “They’ll kick me out of the store and say, ‘Go to the game.’ Most companies wouldn’t do that. That’s the heart of the company.” Jones’s close ties extend to vendors, too, as she has had long-term relationships with some of the industry’s biggest names. Steven Lagos, of the designer brand Lagos, has known Jones for more than two decades, after the two met at a jewelry show in Orlando. It kicked off a business relationship and friendship that has lasted through many changes. “Sissy came from a small, tight-knit community where everyone took care of each other as a family,” Lagos told Nation- al Jeweler via email. “This has influenced how she runs her business, treating her employees and vendors like family. Sissy is a pro and knows her stuff—she has a laser focus on the customer and knows how to make the sale. In addition, Sissy has always invested in her people and places real value on human resources.” STEPS TO SUCCESS Jones also has long been seen as a trailblazer for and a mentor to women, not only because she started a business in a male-dominated industry, but she did it well. And a divorce from her husband, Murphy, in 1975 (whom she eventual- ly remarried) meant that as a woman raising her kids as a single mother for a time, she had to do it on her own. “She didn’t have any choice but to suc- ceed,” Bill Jones says. And here’s why she did succeed: an intense focus on customer service, a well- run operation, and a warm personality that attracts everyone to her like bees to sweet tea. “The thing about Sissy is, she’s been there,” says Millie Ward, president of Stone Ward, the ad agency of record for Sissy’s Log Cabin. “She’s been there in that store. She’s been there to pick the lines. She’s been there to make sure that the service is what it is. She’s been there selling.” Though Stone Ward has been the store’s ad agency for only about a year, Ward has known Jones personally since the 1980s. She met her at a Junior League of Little Rock event where Jones convinced Ward, a young entrepreneur at the time, to buy a Lagos bracelet she could wear to nice events, establishing a connection that would make Ward a customer for life. What has kept her, and so many other people, coming back to Sissy’s Log Cabin is the customer service that can’t be matched, Ward says. In fact, when Ward went to the jeweler for a wedding ring and told them about a very specific issue she has—that she somehow manages to bend every ring she wears—Sissy, Bill, and the rest of the team worked with her to created three different versions of a ring until they found one that would work for her. “They make every customer, first of all, feel like you’re the most important person in the world when you’re there shop- ping with them. And then secondly, they stand behind what they do,” she says. A great experi- ence for the client is 2017 ABOUT SISSY JONES AGE: 77 HOMETOWN: Pine Bluff, Arkansas YEARS IN JEWELRY: 47 FUN FACT: Since she started as an antique dealer, antiquing is one of her favorite things to do and still is a hobby of hers. Her favorite? Items from the Victorian era. “It’s been a wonderful journey and a real pleasure to be here working alongside her. Sissy is so deserving of everything she’s gotten.” —Bill Jones Sissy Jones with, from left, Murphy Jones, her husband and the secretary/treasurer for the company; daughter-in-law Sharri Jones, the executive secretary; and son Bill Jones, company president.