There are six customers in the Brooks Collection and the floor creaked its welcome. A bedroom-sized shop on the historic Courthouse Square in between Frame Up and Off-Square Books is “the South’s best kept secret.” Its size is reminiscent of the store’s origin in an apartment ten years ago. Brook Poole, an accounting professor at Mississippi College, started the small jewelry store based on customer care and personal service. A decade later Cassidy Hedges Shoemake who with Jon-Michael Wimberly run the store for Poole greeted the customers. Soon there is one left: an older man with greying hair counting in his wallet. His loved one had left a wish card at Brooks Collection and he was there to pick up her gift “from Santa.”
“This is the first time we’ve done the wish cards,” said Shoemake. “They’re really popular.” She held a stack of cards nearly thicker than the length of her hand with a laugh.
The wish cards are seen immediately upon entering the store. A desiring person picks up the card, writes his/her name and the name of Santa (a husband, a father, anyone loves them enough to buy them quality jewelry) then the Santa’s email along with three listings of jewelry ranked from nicest to nice. Shoemake then email the Santas for them to visit the store – usually by themselves – to purchase from the wish card.
Despite the store’s size it is a wonder anyone could only pick three on the wish cards. There are sixteen lines of jewelry from fashion to estate within Brooks Collection: Kendra Scott, Vintage Chanel leather purses, delicate metals by Heather Moore, ever-popular Lana Jewelry, Tacori, shimmering Marcia Moran, and ever-steadfast Dana Rebecca Designs and Vintage Rolex to name some.
Shoemake and Poole travel to jewelry shows to find potential lines to bring to the store. “I look for the price point and the trends,” Shoemake said, “The lines we have here are fashionable but affordable for Oxford. We have customers from Dallas to Birmingham who shop here.”
She said the most popular line with the customers is Kendra Scott. The price point these lines is impressive as Wimberly said the most expensive necklace in the store is Marcia Moran’s sleek grey statement necklace at a little over $300.
Even the gold leafed stands holding the Chanel purses and Marcia Moran’s necklaces – both titled Lamar and Cloe respectively on its price tags – are for purchase at $2500 and $1950. But those aren’t the feature of Brooks Collection – the customized engagement rings are.
Shoemake and Wimberly work closely with couples in choosing an engagement ring to remember. Wimberly said, “The lady and the man step in the store to look around and we’ll talk about shapes she likes – oval, rectangles and so on – and then the man will step in later by himself and tell us his budget.”
Shoemake remembered a customer, Courtney Sims, whose fiance Ben Shaw she and Wimberly helped choose an engagement ring. “She came in here shopping for an engagement ring,” Shoemake said. “When her now-fiance came in we helped him pick out a pear-shaped engagement ring made just for her. We were so happy to be part of that proposal where he proposed to her on the Ole Miss football field in October. I hand delivered the ring to the football field. It was a day to remember.”
Courtney Sims left a 5 star review on their Facebook page, expressing her delight at the store’s personal care that gave her an irreplaceable engagement ring.
Brooks Collection is a dream realized for Brook Poole who started the store for its emphasis on personal service. The jewelry store is beloved by Oxonians as it helps people from choosing their next statement piece to creating a one-of-a-kind engagement ring to helping Santa spread a little Christmas sparkle under the trees.
Callie Daniels is a staff reporter for HottyToddy.com. She can be emailed at email@example.com.