Illinois Jeweler Celebrates 100th Anniversary by Re-creating Past

Stones Jewelry in Wheaton, Ill., celebrated its 100th year
the old-fashioned way—by paying homage to its year of inception.

The jewelry store shut down Front St. in Wheaton on July 23
and brought it back to 1911.

Store manager Steve Woodyard tells JCK the street was transformed. Antique cars lined the streets, a
Ferris wheel towered over the store, and a man rode through the street on an
old-fashioned high wheel bicycle.

Food items were sold for one or two cents with proceeds
going to the Milton Township Food Pantry.

“The owner was in a 1911 bathing suit in a dunk tank,” he
says. “It was incredible.”

Woodyard says one of the main attractions was a photo booth
set up with costumes. “People could dress in the costumes and take pictures in
front of the car.”

Woodyard estimates several thousand people attended the
celebration. “We closed the store because it was all about giving back to the
community who has supported us throughout the years.”

Owner David Petti ready to get dunked
(Photos courtesy of Stones Jewelry)

Stones Jewelry has had only four owners through its 100-year history. Charles
Stone opened the store in 1911 and worked there for 50 years until
his son-in-law Emil Shebik bought the store in 1961.

Shebik retired in 1972 and tapped Jason Johnson, who owned a family jewelry business in Madison, Wis., as his
successor. A fire in Wheaton caused the store to temporarily close the
day Johnson purchased the store. The store reopened four days later. Johnson’s
son-in-law David Petti bought the store in 1985.

Woodyard says Stone Jewelry is service-based and tries to
keep things old-fashioned. The store still boasts its original tin ceiling and
a pull-crank cash register. “We don’t have any gimmicks and I think that’s what
people like. We had people telling us stories about coming to us for three to
four generations,” he says.

Stones is planning to celebrate its anniversary during the
holiday season though the details are still being hammered out. “The mayor gave
out of proclamation of Stones Jewelry Day,” he says. The 1911 event, adds Woodyard, “was
definitely the main attraction.”