Bustling downtown atmosphere overshadows unique jewelry shop

Mary's Jewelry Box is located on 108 W. McGee St., right off of Elm Street in the heart of downtown Greensboro. Though the shop is just around the corner from other popular joints like Just Be and The Green Bean coffee shop, it often goes unnoticed.

Although Mary’s Jewelry Box offers a seemingly endless supply of handmade earrings, necklaces, pendants and other trinkets, those who know the store exists number significantly less than the pieces of jewelry for sale. The store is located on West McGee Street in Greensboro, NC which runs perpendicular to the bustling Elm Street. But according to Nocomus Williams, who has worked at the store for five months, many people pass right by and don’t even glance in the store’s direction.

Elon University junior Molly Carey makes frequent visits to The Green Bean Coffeehouse but says she has never spotted the jewelry store just around the corner. She even said she’s stopped into Just Be, a retail store directly across the street, but still never noticed Mary’s Jewelry Box.

“The traffic on this street is not very good,” Williams said. “Hopefully we may be moving to Elm Street. We’ve been thinking about that. Seriously.”

Mary Garvey opened Mary’s Jewelry’s Box in February 2011. The opening of the store came shortly after the closing of Clothesline, her discounted vintage clothing store.

“Mary owned the Clothesline on the corner and she actually sold the business name and decided that she wanted to get out of the business for awhile,” Williams said. “But it wasn’t a year before she opened this place.  And I had worked for her when she owned the Clothesline, so she called me and I’ve been here ever since.”

The store offers a wide variety of second-hand jewelry, the majority of which ranges in price from $2 to $5. Garvey buys a lot of the jewelry on eBay and also from individuals selling their own jewelry, Williams said. Because the prices are so low, the store does not work on consignment; Garvey pays the sellers upfront.

Due mainly in part to the excess inventory left over from Clothesline, Mary’s Jewelry Box has begun offering clothing.

“(Mary) had so much of a carry-over when she owned the clothing business that she started bringing groups of clothing,” Williams said. “And we’re gonna have even more clothes, hopefully soon.”

Although Garvey and Williams are looking forward to attracting more business, Williams said she is pleased the store brings in such a diverse group of people, including college students from University of North Carolina at Greensboro and North Carolina A&T State University, as well as elderly customers.

“It’s just a variety of people,” she said. “Sometimes people will be going out to eat and they spot the little rack and the mermaid and they’ll come in. Unless it’s raining, the mermaid is usually there.”

But being greeted by a stuffed mermaid isn’t the only thing that keeps customers coming back. From the employees to the jewelry to the music selection, Mary’s Jewelry Box is a true find for those who take the time to turn the corner.

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