Grant family business honored for legacy of contributions to community & the chamber
Throughout the year the Chamber has honored members who had been a part of our organization and business community for 50 years or more by designating them as Legacy Members as part of our 65th anniversary celebration. We value the rich heritage of these businesses and the staying power and contribution to the community that they represent. One of the Legacy Members we recognized last year was actually a founding member of our Chamber of Commerce. And that was Mr. John W. Grant Jr. of J.C.Grant Company Jewelers.
In today’s business climate there are very few businesses – particularly local businesses – that stand the test of time the way Grant’s has. It is both a testament to the family and their commitment to service, but also to their focus on continuing to identify and adapt to the needs of the customers they serve.
The J.C.Grant Company Story
Sometime around 1885, John Clark Grant, a farmhand working near Monticello, Georgia became tired of his job, took the money that he had saved, and bought some watchmaker’s tools. The self-taught watchmaker set up a bench in a friend’s shop repairing watches and almost anything else that people brought in. After becoming acquainted with the trade, John opened a jewelry store of his own in Monticello.
About 10 years later J.C. Grant moved his business to Eatonton, Georgia where he was in business for about fourteen years. Grant moved his wife and six children to Milledgeville because of the better educational opportunities there. He bought out the bankrupt stock of Star Jewelry Company, and in 1909, Milledgeville became home for Grants Jewelry Store. Grant was remembered as a “quiet, dedicated man” who fathered six children, four of whom followed him into the Jewelry business.
Until 1970, J.C. Grant Co. never had an employee outside the family. Even today, five generations later, family is still the backbone of the business. John Jr., grandson of the founder, along with his daughter Jean and grandson in law Justin now run the store. In addition to fine jewelry and watches, J.C. Grant Company also has a bridal registry and fine gifts. J.C. Grant Company is indeed a “full service” jewelry store.
Mr. Grant is Registered Jeweler with AGS and Master Watchmaker. And in addition to his professional designations, he has made some lasting impacts on our community through his service on the City Council for 20 years and his 4 years as the Mayor of Milledgeville. While serving the City, he was instrumental in acquiring the sewage treatment plant from the State of Georgia & the City was able to make necessary improvements to the facility along with many other notable improvements to water lines, the police and fire departments.
Mr. Grant is recognized by fellow jewelers as Outstanding. He is a Past recipient of the 24 Karat Club of the Southeast Jeweler of the Year Award as well as the Jewelers Association Jeweler of the Year Award. And on just about any given day, you can still find Mr. Grant hard at work at their store on S Wayne Street doing what he loves alongside his daughter Jean & grandson-in-law Justin.
In addition to Mr. Grant’s service to the founding of our Chamber, daughter Jean – a Certified Gemologist with American Gem Society and a Graduate Gemologist with GIA – also served on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for 4 years and son Former Senator John W. Grant III served on the Chamber board and was the board chairman from 1981-1982.
Justin currently serves at the Chairman of Milledgeville MainStreet, and the Grant family continues to support the community through participation with local civic organizations, schools and community involvement – most notably through their “Blake’s Buddies” team in honor of Justin & Jennifer’s son Blake Jones raising over $90,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
After 126 years of business, the family-run J.C. Grant Company in downtown Milledgeville has continued to thrive and hopes to prosper even more with its newly renovated interior and expanded jewelry lines and gift offerings. In a recent interview Justin stated that the main reason they decided to renovate was because they have the highest quality pieces and their store should reflect that and continue to symbolize the best of what they have to offer priding themselves on their selection but also their service and repairs.
The slogan that the business has used for a number of years is quite fitting. For all of those once in a lifetime moments, JC Grant Company was there. And we are fortunate to have this family and this business as a cornerstone of our business community.