Louisiana Business School Graduate Infuses Family’s Jewelry Store With Progressive Thinking



Every day is mother’s day at the 72-year-old McCary’s Jewelers

When Miles Thomas graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in business last year, he knew exactly where he wanted to take his newfound education: McCary’s Jewelers, his family’s fine ­jewelry store in Shreveport, La., which was founded by his great-grandfather, James McCary, in 1941. “The opportunity was presented to me to join the business and it felt dumb not to take it,” says Miles, who works with his grandfather, owner R.L. McCary, his mother, jeweler Lynn McCary Thomas, and his uncle, bench jeweler David McCary. Miles had worked summers in the shop—which boasts six bench jewelers and extensive appraisal and custom design services—throughout high school and college. Which could explain why becoming “100 percent committed” to the family business postgraduation felt relatively effortless.

QUICK STUDY

Miles: I’ve learned from my mom all the details on how to appraise pieces—so many little tidbits that I never knew before, that GIA courses don’t teach you. She’s a wealth of information.
Lynn: I guess we needed some new blood. The way my father does business and even the way I do business is not the way the next generation does it. Miles has modern thoughts and ideas. He manages our Facebook page and we have some flat-screen TV advertising going on that’s totally from him.
Miles: In terms of social media, it’s a perfect and very inexpensive way to reach your customer base. When I came on, the store’s Facebook page was still in its infancy. And I’ve been dealing with our advertising to get that ball rolling. TV and newspaper advertisements are really what get people in here.

FAMILY TIES

Lynn: It’s pretty wonderful to see my son every day. We’ve learned to talk things out and respect each other. He’s a different generation so that’s a challenge sometimes. Holidays are the hardest. You’re with each other all the time, so you don’t really want to see each other on the holidays!
Miles: I’m referenced more as her son than her employee. It makes the customers laugh so I guess that’s good, but sometimes it wears on me. But it’s nice to say to our customers, this is the next generation. When I like to get away for an LSU football game, it’s nice to be able to go to my mother to ask for time off. The big bonus is the amount of knowledge I have to tap into.

UP-AND-COMING

Lynn: You need to tell someone what they’re getting into when they’re coming into a business. They might want an easy ticket and you’re all family, but that means you actually work more.
Miles: If you’re going to join the family business, you have to go in committed. Don’t let one second be wasted on something that’s not going to benefit you long term in the business.