Something Old, Something New: The Legacy of Oklahoma’s BC Clark Jewelers

The state’s oldest jewelry store is on a mission to stay relevant and traditional

The distinction of being Oklahoma’s oldest business of any kind operating under the same name and continuous family ownership is a legacy the Clarks take very seriously. B.C. Clark opened his first shop in the corner of a five-and-dime in 1892—and the shop grew under the leadership of his son, B.C. Clark Jr., grandson Jim, and great-grandsons  Coleman and Mitchell. Today, this solid foundation of old-school ideals still serves them well: Service, quality, and simply “doing the right thing” marries perfectly with a knack for innovative marketing.

120 Years and Counting

Jim: Statistics show that for a business to reach the second generation, it has a 33 in 100 chance; to reach the third generation, it has a 12 in 100 chance. To reach the fourth, it has a 3 in 100 chance!

Mitchell: Our business was established well before Oklahoma achieved statehood in 1907. I think people see us as a part of our state’s great history. I hear from customers about how their family has been shopping at our stores for generations. Many share stories about my grandfather or great-grandfather selling them their wedding rings.

Coleman: Our history is so ingrained in Oklahoma City that it is pretty easy to keep the history alive. What is challenging is being a relevant, desired destination for new generations.

Making Marketing a Priority

Coleman: We are constantly looking for new ideas, promotions, and products. The important thing is to realize when something really works, and stick with it! You don’t always have to change just to change.

Jim: Our initiatives include our “Pray for Rain” engagement ring promotion, now in its 13th year; “Pay It Mom*ward” Mother’s Day gifting program; Diamond Dash scavenger hunt; Gravity, our ­private-label engagement ring line; and our new virtual-style Web page that allows customers to use smartphones to “try on” engagement rings. Amidst all of this, my sons have had the good sense to continue our most successful marketing tool ever—the BC Clark Jingle—arguably the longest continuously running jingle in America [at 55 years].

Mitchell: Being “old” can be seen as negative if things don’t ever seem to change. We balance a fine line with being a traditional jewelry store while also stepping out of the box to find exciting ways to attract our younger, more fashion-oriented customer.

Why Work Is Fun

Coleman: Nothing is more satisfying than helping a couple buy an engagement ring. I look forward to building a relationship with those couples.

Jim: Our staff—many of which have been with us for generations—[is] one of the reasons we have been named “Best Jewelry Store in Oklahoma City” by the readers of our largest daily newspaper for 18 years in a row.

Mitchell: I look forward to coming to work each day about as much as I look forward to coming home each night. I guess that is a sign of a good balance between work and family!

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