MPW.69 / 2017 A Town Jewel by Joel Angel Juarez
Photographer
Joel Angel Juarez Oxnard, Calif.
Team Cliff & Vi

Story Summary

Norris and Dianne Henley, 71 and 70 years old, run Henley Jewelers in Eldon, Missouri. Passed down through two generations, the store has been selling jewelry since 1948, and currently sits on the town’s first established lot of land.

“I even have customers that come in that bought rings from my father in the 50s and need some repair work done for their bridal set,” said Norris Henley as he sits inside his jewelry repair room.

Norris and Dianne own the jewelry store along with Norris’ younger brother, Donn Henley and Donn’s wife Suzanne. Donn is currently on leave from the store as he fights cancer, so the store is understaffed.

None of Norris and Dianne’s three children work in the store, and the Henley’s don’t know if the store will be passed down to the next generation. However, the two live their lives day-by-day with their customers, who have become friends.

“I always laugh and say that our exit plan is feet first, out the door, on the coroner’s stretcher,” said Diane Henley. “I guess we’ll be here ‘till we die.”