Loyd Stanley, the highly respected head of Stanley Jewelers Gemologist in North Little Rock, Ark., died on Oct. 4, following a six-year battle with cancer. He was 84.
Stanley Jewelers Gemologist had closed in 2017 after Stanley retired. His parents founded the store in 1936.
Stanley grew up in North Little Rock, and as a child he often helped his father in his workshop. “Growing up around the jewelry store was all I ever knew,” he told the Arkansas Democrat Gazette in 2008. “But one of the great things about my folks is that they never pushed me to get into the family business.”
He initially wanted to be a photographer, and enrolled at Arkansas State Teachers College on a photography scholarship. But in 1959 he joined the family business.
“My dad had a salesman who was leaving the store and he said, ‘Why don’t you try working here?’” he told the Democrat Gazette. “And I thought that sounded like a good idea.”
In 1968, Stanley earned his Graduate Gemologist degree from GIA, the first person in central Arkansas to do so. He became a Certified Gemologist Appraiser in 1985. He wrote and starred in his own radio and television advertisements, and became known for the tagline “We know diamonds.”
A fan of Dale Carnegie—and his motto “Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain”—Stanley always tried to “exceed our customer’s expectations,” according to a 2013 column in The Centurion.
“We like to offer our customers a little gift when they don’t expect it,” he told The Centurion. “I recently paid sales tax for a longtime customer who bought a big gift. He didn’t ask for it, I offered it, and he left with a smile on his face.
“We never ask ‘Do you want this gift wrapped?’ Instead, we say, ‘I’ll have this gift wrapped for you in a minute.’ When we deliver a package, it’s in a Stanley’s sack with a coffee mug or a bottle of jewelry cleaner and possibly a ballpoint pen with our name on it.… And if the customer says, ‘I’ve already got the coffee mug,’ we say that we’d like them to have service for 12.”
Stanley was active in the industry: He served as president of the Arkansas Retail Jewelers in 1973, a director of the American Gem Society (AGS) from 1981 to 1985, and president of the Southwest Guild of AGS in 1986. In 2008, the Arkansas Jewelers Association awarded him its Lifetime Achievement Award. At the time, he was one of only three people to receive it.
In his spare time, Stanley pursued flying, sailing, skiing, and his first love, photography. He was also active in his church and served as past president of the Pulaski County Humane Society, chairman of the local Better Business Bureau, and founding organizer and director of the National Bank of Arkansas.
He told the Democrat Gazette that he’d want to be remembered as “someone who followed the Golden Rule: Do unto others. Not the one that says, ‘The guy with the gold rules,’ but the other golden rule.”
Stanley is survived by Kaye, his wife of 27 years; daughters Caroline and Laura, both of whom work in the industry; stepchildren Todd King and Michelle Peebles; and five grandchildren. He was predeceased by his first wife, Barbara; son Stephen; and grandson Andrew.
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