In 1915, a young Rufus D. Lewis moved from the Lowcountry of South Carolina to Clinton to begin what would become a 100 year family legacy of fine jewelry in the Upstate. In 1917, he dissolved his partnership with J.B. Frontis in Clinton and moved to Spartanburg. Not much is known of his first location beyond it’s location at 122 East Main St.
His second location in Spartanburg was at 146 East Main St. in a little store only 8 feet wide but furnished with the antique showcases that still grace our showroom today. Being one of the first stores in the area to have air conditioning, Rufus shut his doors to keep the cold air inside. Unfortunately, in those days the only time a business shut it’s doors in the summer was when it was closed. With his customers passing by assuming he was closed, he resigned himself to leaving his doors wide open all day with the air conditioning working hard to keep up!
Even though his two young sons, Rufus Jr. and Bob, liked the store’s location beside the Strand theatre where they could press the heads to the wall and listen to the movies next door, Rufus D. Lewis soon out grew the little store and moved up the street to corner of East Main and Converse streets. There he had room to add to his jewelry and gift offerings to meet the needs of his growing business.
In 1952, Rufus D. Lewis passed away due to complications following a stroke. His youngest son Bob having graduated from Wofford College and returning home after the war took his father’s place at the helm and would guide the store to greater heights over the next 50 years.
In 1970, with the city’s decision to create the Main Street Mall by closing off traffic on Main street from Converse Street to Church Street, another move was in the making. With Converse Street being widened, the building housing Rufus D. Lewis Jewelers would have to be demolished. Bob saw this as an opportunity to again enlarge and enhance the business by moving to Hillcrest Shopping Center which had a community of upscale independent businesses.
Rufus D. Lewis Jewelers would flourish at this location for the next 15 years bringing Spartanburg and the upstate the finest in jewelry from around the world. It was at this store that Lindsay Lewis , Bob’s oldest son, began learning the art of jewelry repair and custom fabrication upon graduating college in 1977.
It was time to expand again in 1985 when Rufus D. Lewis Jewelers built it’s own free standing building at the corner of Fernwood Drive at Peachshed Road. Also in 1985, Bob’s youngest son Gentry returned home to join the business. Having grown up in the business and working after school and weekends through high school, it was natural that Lindsay and Gentry would continue the legacy that their grandfather and father passed along to them.
100 years in business doesn’t just happen. It takes hard work and dedication to your guiding principles and beliefs. We believe there is no substitute for quality and we work hard every day to bring you the highest quality at a reasonable price. It’s what our grandfather believed. It’s what our father believed. It’s what we believe.