It was 1953 and Jack Jones was
selling flowers in Paris, Tennessee.
Over sixty-five years later, the shop bearing his name continues as one of the most recognizable and successful businesses in downtown Paris.
Nearly 29 years after Jones retired from the business and nearly eight years after his death, the business still proudly bears the name of Jack Jones Flowers and Gifts.
Jones was a native of Trezevant who had graduated from Vanderbilt University. He moved to Paris in 1952 after marrying Joan Cherry, whom he had met at Vandy.
After taking a floral design class, he opened Jack Jones Flowers and Gifts in 1953 in a building on Fentress Street that had formerly housed the Gem Theater.
Jones told The Post-Intelligencer in a 1995 interview that he wasn’t quite sure of himself when the shop first opened.
“When I opened for business on Fentress Street, I will never forget my first customer. The lady, Thelma Tucker, ordered a wreath of gladiolas.
“Well, I became very nervous because, outside of design school, I had never put together a wreath. But, I managed to get through the test in fine fashion,” Jones said.
In 1956, Jones decided to move his business to West Washington Street, in the spot now occupied by the McLean and McLean law offices.
The shop stayed in that spot for 10 years, but in 1966, First Trust and Savings Bank was moving from its location at the intersection of Market and Washington streets, opening up a choice corner spot on the downtown square. Jones bought the building from the bank, and that’s where the business remains 52 years later, at 118 N. Market St.
Through the years, Jones typically attempted to hire young people, even high school age, in order to provide a good first job for them.
Vicky Hunt, a longtime employee of the store who later became a co-owner of the business, was one of those student workers.
Jones ran the shop for 36 years before deciding in 1989 that he wanted to put the store up for sale. He was 64 years old at the time and ready to retire.
But, fate wasn’t ready for the Jones family to give up the flower shop just yet.
Jones’ youngest daughter, Susan, who was working in Maryville at the time, learned her father was looking to sell the shop and she stepped in to run it, telling Jack that she couldn’t bear the thought of the business going out of the family.
Hunt and Catherine Michael bought the business from Susan Jones in 1995. Later owners included Andy and Laura Davis, then current owners Cathy and Ronnie Robbins bought the store in 2008.