As a young boy, Minson Sessoms was inquisitive, always tinkering on anything mechanical.
His love for fixing things started at just 10 years of age when he dismantled a Timex watch and put it back together — all in an effort to learn how it worked.
The legacy known as Sessoms Jewelry began in 1967 and is now celebrating 50 years of serving the community and providing the kind of loyalty and work ethic embodied in the man who started it all.
The decades-old business was just honored by the Clinton Main Street Program with the Outstanding Legacy Business Award, which was presented to Deborah and Gary Wayne Hall, Sessoms’ daughter and son-in-law, who now own the business.
“Mr. Sessoms worked hard to get this business started,” Hall said when asked why, after 42 years of being in the business, he has no plans to retire anytime soon. “We’ve worked hard to keep it going and honor the hard work he put into this business.”
When the business opened in 1967, Sessoms was working out of his attic and fixing watches and clocks.
“He was a self-taught man,” Hall said about his father-in-law.
The store’s original location was just a few doors down from the current building on Wall Street in downtown Clinton. For eight years, Hall said the business was in Jordan Shopping Center, but has called the downtown area home for the last 30 years.
The Outstanding Legacy Business Award was presented to Sessoms Jewelry in recognition of all the things Sessoms worked for when he opened the business and all the things the Halls continue to work for today.
“He established a trustworthy business with full customer satisfaction,” Hall expressed. “We have done our best to make sure our business continues to be credible and offer the best quality of work to our customers.”
Sessoms placed his trust in Hall when he hired him over four decades ago and gave him an opportunity that Hall says he will never forget. Hall and his wife have carried on the Sessoms name and the legacy of the man known for helping his community, church and those who who needed aid.
In the last few years, Hall said the downtown area has continued to grow, but there was a time when businesses were leaving the downtown area and setting up on other sides of town. Not Sessoms — because downtown is home and it’s where the community expects the business to be.
“We are seeing a lot more traffic come through the store because of the restaurants and businesses that are now located in the area,” Hall shared.
Hall said he doesn’t have any plans to retire for another eight years, when he is 75. Even then, he will still come in a couple of days a week and do a little bit of work.
“When you’ve been here and doing it for 42 years, people expect you to be around,” Hall said with a laugh.
Like Sessoms, the Halls are involved in the community, serving as sponsors for the Alive After Five and Downtown Dash.
Even though Sessoms isn’t around to see the business celebrate 50 years, Hall said he knows the founder, who passed in December 2015, would be proud of the accomplishments and dedication the business continues to exhibit.
“Mr. Sessoms was born and raised right here in Sampson County,” Hall said. “This was a great community to him and it would mean a lot to receive the award and to continue to serve the community.”
Appreciative of the business’ success, Hall said it’s all because of the loyal customers who have laid their trust in Hall’s hands.
“I’m truly honored and we will strive to keep pushing and being there for our customers,” Hall said.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.