Home News Historic Downtown Jackson Jewelry Store Set for Change in Ownership

Historic Downtown Jackson Jewelry Store Set for Change in Ownership

by Madonna

In a significant transition for Downtown Jackson’s commercial landscape, Carter Jewelry, recognized as Mississippi’s oldest jewelry store and one of the nation’s enduring businesses, is poised for a change in ownership. The iconic establishment, which first opened its doors in 1849 and weathered the challenges of the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Great Depression, two world wars, and the recent COVID-19 pandemic, is set to pass into the hands of the next generation.

Owner Jerry Lake, who assumed control of Carter Jewelry in 1997 when it was the third oldest jewelry store in the United States, has announced his retirement. Lake is selling the business to his son, Jay, who will become the fifth owner of both the business and the historic building located at 711 High Street, just three blocks from the state capital.


The announcement holds particular significance, as the establishment has not only been a cornerstone of the local community but also a witness to more than a century and a half of American history. The building itself bears testament to its historical importance, marked by a plaque from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in the parking lot.


“When I took over in 1997, Carter Jewelers was the third oldest jewelry store in the country. Now, with the passing of Bixler’s Jewelry in Pennsylvania, we are second only to Merkley Kendrick Jewelry in Kentucky,” shared Jerry Lake.


As part of the transition, Jerry Lake disclosed that the business is currently carrying an inventory exceeding $1 million. In preparation for the transfer of ownership, efforts are underway to reduce the inventory to approximately $300,000. Jerry Lake expressed his intention to step back from the helm but assured that he would be available to provide support after a period of rest and relaxation.

“It’s just time for me to do something different. After a little rest and relaxation, I will be around to help. But it’s just time for someone else to be in charge of the finances and the taxes and everything that goes with the stress of that,” said Lake.

With Jay Lake set to take the reins, Carter Jewelers will continue its legacy as a continuously operated jewelry store, maintaining its position as a cultural and historical gem in Downtown Jackson.


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