In 1986, Evans, who was managing a Jewelry store in Rockland, met Seymour Holston through a mutual business associate—a watchmaker who served both Holston and Evans. After seeing that Holston had established a “vibrant and active” business, Evans started visiting Holston on his days off, trying to convince the craftsman and World War II veteran to sell the store. “It was never about money with him,” says Evans. “It was just about turning the store over to someone who would run it the way he did.” Holston’s business philosophy was one of fairness and honesty, and Evans told me how watching Holston’s way with customers filled an important gap in his education. “If a customer came in and one prong was broken on their ring, what I had been taught was to say ‘Ok, we need to fix all those prongs.’ Mr. Holston would say, ‘Well, three of those prongs look fine, so why don’t we fix one and keep an eye on it?’” The gracious attitude of Holston, who passed away in 1993, has stuck with Evans ever since.
Evans decided to relocate the store when he noticed a drop in traffic on Broadway. “Having all the empty store-fronts doesn’t help,” says Rosker, who added that some people walk by without even noticing the shop. “When I got here Broadway was the shopping area,” says Evans. “It’s a nice spot but right now it’s kind of lonely. You feel more part of the community on Main Street.” The importance of community is another lesson that Evans learned from the store’s founder. Mr. Holston taught him that success isn’t about any one sale, but rather about establishing a reputation with customers. “If you find somebody you like and you trust, you will travel a little extra to get to them,” says Evans. Jill Rosker—Evans’ business associate and friend since high school—described Mr. Holston as “a true gentleman in every sense of the word.”