By Sadie Fowler
Lisa Halliburton prides herself in being trustworthy and paying attention to the details. Alongside her brother Greg, Lisa is co-owner of Bell Jewelers in Murfreesboro.
People come to Lisa and refer their friends to her when they want personal service, whether it’s an engagement, anniversary, birthday gift or corporate gifts.
“People can trust and depend on me to follow through with attention to detail for their special gifts,” she said. “Having my customers’ trust and confidence means the world to me.”
Lisa is also a mother and active participant of the Murfreesboro community — she’s a member of the Junior League, Charity Circle, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and CABLE, in addition to supporting various other organizations.
Born in Nashville, Lisa grew up in Murfreesboro, having lived in the city she calls home since 1973. She graduated from Riverdale in 1982 and attended the University of Alabama as well as Middle Tennessee State University, from which she graduated with a degree in marketing.
She has a graduate gemologist degree from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA, located in Santa Monica, California,) and a certified gemologist degree from the American Gem Society. Currently, Lisa is the Tennessee guild president for the American Gem Society.
She and her husband Ken, who works for Miller, Laughry and Beach Insurance, have been married nearly 30 years and have two children: Reid and Taylor. Reid is currently pursuing a master’s degree at MTSU and Taylor, currently a senior at the University of Alabama, is planning to attend GIA and follow in her mother’s footsteps by working in the family business.
“Greg and I bought Bell Jewelers from our parents in 2007 when they decided to retire,” she said. “From the get-go we said to each other that we didn’t want to run the store alone. We needed each other. We vowed if there was a decision to be made and we both weren’t ‘in’ we wouldn’t do it.
Lisa says her favorite thing about the work she does is the relationships she has developed with customers as well as the referrals she receives. She loves celebrating life’s special moments with people.
Bell Jewelers, which has two certified gemologists on staff (she and Greg), is a member of the world’s largest buying group, the Independent Jewelers Organization (IJO).
“As a member, we have the advantage to buy at special prices to compete with ‘the big boys’ and still have the personalized service of a full-service family-owned business,” she said, also mentioning their staff is lucky to include Bob Lanier, an award-winning jeweler who can custom design anything. “He is so talented and can design anything of your dreams.”
Kenneth Marler, their certified watchmaker who has earned the distinction ‘CW21’ (Certified Watchmaker 21st Century) is one of only two or three to hold that distinction in the state.
Bell is considered a state of the art Rolex repair center, the only one in Middle Tennessee. Also, their computer can personalize anything that can be engraved with company logos, personalized signatures and more.
“Greg’s wife Dee Dee Tidwell is our engraver and she does an awesome job,” Lisa said.
During peak times of the year, it’s not uncommon for the entire family to jump on board and work the floor or even wrap items.
“It’s great to have them,” she said. “It’s not unusual to be waiting on two or three people at a time,” she said. “Multitasking is a must and we are lucky to have an awesome staff.”
The support Bell receives from the local community is great, and appreciated by the Halliburton family.
“So it is natural we want to give back to our community through sponsorships, auction donations, time and treasure,” she said.
Lisa says competing with online stores is what she considers Bell’s greatest challenge.
“We combat this challenge by making folks aware how important it is to shop local and shop small business,” she said. “We also try to have a strong social media presence via email, Facebook and Instagram. We do a lot of promotions to give people a reason to shop with us.”
Lisa also does a lot of business on her phone. She receives all Bell Jewelers emails and messages on her phone so she can respond to any questions ASAP.
“I get texts all the time from customers, send pictures to them, and make sales on the phone so customers do not even have to come in if they are too busy,” she said.
Approaching the bridal season, Lisa loves giving advice to men shopping for special gifts, including engagement rings.
“I tell them, ‘She’s going to love whatever you select if it’s coming from you,’” she said. “Women want to select the style ring they desire but we really want the romance — the surprise … We try to relieve the stress of selecting anything at our store. Our philosophy is ‘the sale isn’t final until everyone is happy.’”
Lisa said most men have an idea of what their girlfriend or wife wants from pictures they’ve been shown or things that have been pointed out to them on Pinterest or other places. Sometimes women have come in to the store and created a wish list or couples have come to the store and browsed together before the final purchased.
“Then, he and I will get together to decide on the perfect ring,” she said. “There’s lots of follow up on my end. I don’t think many stores follow up after a customer leaves the store from just browsing. Most of my sales come from follow ups.”
Lisa’s journey into the family business evolved naturally. Her parents, who were very involved with the Tennessee Jewelers Association, employed Lisa during school breaks most of her life. When she was a sophomore in college, she attended an IJO show with her parents and decided she wanted to attend GIA and make a career out of it.
She feels blessed to share her career with family.
“My mom always encouraged us to leave business at the store and family time around the table,” she said. “If someone brings up business at home, she was quick to say ‘Can we change the subject?’ It really helped us to turn off business and enjoy family time.”
While Lisa is mainly responsible for the front end, sales floor, employees and advertising, Greg handles the financials and diamond buying.
“I have a tremendous respect for Greg,” she said. “I trust him and I know every decision he makes is best for me, him, our business and employees.”
During her downtime, Lisa loves training with Terry Coulter at the MAC, shopping, massages, and riding her Vespa scooter, Ruby.
Bell Jewelers is located at 821 NW Broad St. in Murfreesboro. The store number is 615-893-9162.