Murphey the Jeweler II: 162-year-old business helps top TISD grads see future | Business
The store may have been around Tyler for closer to two centuries—but the owners and staff stay attuned by living in the now. Each spring for the past few years, Murphey the Jeweler II’s owner Rick Murphey—a Tyler Independent School District alumnus as well—will not accept a ‘thank you’ without becoming emotional and speaking about how the gold watches he helps give forty of the top Tyler ISD graduates is an honor for him.
Turn back the clock to 1850, during a time of mass change in America. The country was still reeling from the Civil War, trying to get back on its feet. With the Industrial Revolution came a new, innovative aspect to American lives. In this manner, with grand ideas of providing a valuable service to customers, A.M. "Arch" Murphey opened his own jewelry and watch store in Tyler. The first location was on the north side of the Tyler Square. His goal was to dedicate himself to providing his customers with high-quality products, all while offering personalized, friendly service.
This family outlook has helped Murphey The Jeweler 2 continue to grow and make customers smile, six generations later. Our welcoming atmosphere and personalized service has kept Murphey The Jeweler 2 the most trusted name in the jewelry business. Currently, Rick and Shannon Murphey, brothers, carry on the family legacy. Their father, George Reaves, is still a very active part of the family business, still sharing his extensive knowledge and experience with customers and family alike.
Come visit Murphey The Jeweler 2 today and experience what 140 years in the industry can do for you.
- 1848-A.M. “Arch” Murphey moved from N. Carolina and established a storefront downtown on Broadway where he offered fine jewelry and flatware.
- 1853-Arch married Elizabeth Findley
- 1868-Arch began to focus on fine jewelry, thus beginning the legacy of Murphey the Jeweler.
- 1886-Arch’s three sons, led by George Reaves Murphey joined the family business and moved to the space on Spring Street on a rental basis.
- 1898-George Reaves expanded the inventory to include musical instruments and guns, and married Maude, who gave birth to George Melrose Murphey.
- 1920-George Melrose Murphey took the helm at Murphey the Jeweler and purchased the historic Spring Street location after marrying Grace who gave birth to Reaves Murphey on July 28, 1930.
- 1940-Following the Depression, Murphey the Jeweler began carrying Schwinn Bicycles and making eyeglasses.
- Reaves Murphey married Collesta Petty on May 25, 1950. The two welcomed Rick to the family on March 25, 1951. Reaves graduated from the Elgin Watch & Jewelry School in 1952.
- Rick joined the family business in 1973 after attending Texas A & M and married Judie Harless on July 18, 1986.
He left the downtown location and moved into Southeast Crossing on October 25, 1999, before moving to our present location in the Green Acres Shopping Village on September 6, 2001
Rick became involved with the national and state-awarding winning event when asked by Larry Goddard, executive director of the Foundation if Rick’s long-standing business could help sponsor.
“We have been told that this generation of students do not look at a wrist watch for the time of day—they look at their Smart Phones,” explained Goddard. “But, when we spoke to the students one on one, they said they knew when it came time for interviews, a gold watch for their academic achievement would be the formal acutrement to set them apart from other interview candidates.”
Before the gold watches, the Foundation provided a ‘swag bag’ with external drives and gift certificates.
“The worst year, and I am so embarrassed to tell this story, but we gave our top twenty students from Lee and top twenty students from J. Tyler, a gift bag with Raman noodles and a bowl,” laughs Goddard. “I have used that story in national presentations of ‘what NOT to do’ to honor students of academic merit.”
This past year, Seiko gold watches with all sterling were given to the male students and the female students received a Seiko gold watch with over 22 Swarakski crystals.
“We have come a long way since Ramen noodles,” said Goddard, “thanks to our ever-growing list of donors and the sophistication of our planning committee. School districts from all over the United States look to our event which has evolved during the past few years to win crystal awards for public relations events in Texas.
“The donors know exactly how their donation is used and one past committee came up with a fantastic idea to have honorarium donations for teachers, students, parents…what a wonderful idea,” said Goddard. “And the commemorative program lists the student’s achievements and the teacher they most admire. That’s the emotional part of the event—hearing young people speak from the heart, without a script, telling a full house at Caldwell Auditorium about their gratitude of a good teacher, coach, employee—anyone at Tyler ISD.”
“I like that we have the event in Caldwell Auditorium next to Caldwell Arts Magnet Elementary School,” explained Goddard. The school and auditorium were given to Tyler ISD as a private gift from the Caldwell Foundation and today remains one of the nation’s largest private gifts to public education.
DVD’s are available of the April 2012 event by request from the Tyler ISD Foundation Office at (903) 266-9806.