MPW.70 / 2018 The Final Days of Shannon Jewelry by Katherine Emery
Photographer
Katherine Emery San Francisco. Calif.
Team Cliff & Vi

Recipient of the Spirit of the Workshop Award
Story Summary

Two weeks after the death of his father, James Shannon, 61, closes the doors of Shannon Jewelry. The family business was opened by James's parents, John and Lois, in Mountain Grove, Missouri, in 1953. For decades, Shannon Jewelry was the only place for miles around to buy a class ring, a wedding or engagement ring, to have a clock repaired, or to order a gold-engraved Bible.

James, an only child, grew up in the family store that was the center of their lives. Since age 12, he fixed anything that ticked. His father John was known for his fine craftsmanship and loved to work on jewelry. It was not strange for his mother, Lois, to cook food on a stove in the back of the shop to serve it to the family in the store.

The Jewelry store’s unique place in the community’s rituals built them a loyal following over the years. In the store’s final days, customers stopped by to pick up items that had been repaired (some for years even) and to offer their condolences. “You’re a dying breed,” said Faith Lane, a customer from nearby Cabool, Missouri, who was bringing a clock in for repair and was shocked to learn of John’s death, and the store’s closure. “You can’t find places like this anymore.”