At Heavenly Pines Jewelry & Design in picturesque Pinehurst, NC, three generations of women are the only people to be found, not counting their popular canine greeters eager to accept a treat from adoring visitors.
It’s a friendly, homey atmosphere that negates the need for advertising - word-of-mouth, neighborly trust and a well-to-do clientele make for a winning combination. Known for golf and the world-famous Pinehurst Resort, the village draws retirees from the North, folks who are interested in settling into a small-town life with comfortable amenities.
Rita Livengood and her daughter Mendy Lewis bought the store four years ago from the couple who established it more than 20 years ago. Two years later, Mendy’s daughter Kelsea Carpenter made it a trio. “Three generations are all stuck in here together!” laughs Kelsea, who acts as store manager. “People ask me what I manage, and I say, ‘I manage the owners.’
“Rita has been a jeweler forever,” Kelsea adds. “She hopped on when Mary and John (previous owners) bought the business, working as a bench jeweler. Everybody thought she was their daughter. Then she dragged Mom along, and the rest is history!”
Before deciding to enter the jewelry business, Kelsea herself did temp jobs - “as a housekeeper and a little of this and that. I also took college courses, trying to decide what I wanted to do. Then a spot opened up here, and I dived right in. I found out I was decently good at it - and I enjoy it! I’ve earned my GIA in colored stones, and Mendy has her GIA in diamonds.”
Rita graduated from a jewelers school in Florida and studied under jewelers in New York.
“Rita and I have our benches together, and we do all of the design and repair in-house,” Kelsea says. “Our customers know who is working on their pieces. It’s just the three of us, and it’s a nice atmosphere. If we don’t work well together, we just start throwing pens across the room,” she laughs. “We’re lucky we all get along. We all have our own strengths, so it works out well.”
Heavenly Pines, with a selection of fine jewelry, watches, estate jewelry and gifts, offers custom design, appraisals, consignment, jewelry and watch repair. The setting for the boutique store is charmingly Southern.
“We’re in a little yellow building with a hairdresser beside us, and on the other side is a financial business,” Kelsea says. “There’s also a therapy business and another one does knick-knacks, engraving and embroidering. There’s a pond out front, and the post office is right across the street. And there are a lot of pine trees - we’re serious about our pine trees here!
“We’re a golfing community and a retirement community. A lot of people from the North come down here to retire, slow down and play golf. We have great doctors here, a great health community. We’re right next door to an assisted-living community, and we get a lot of our clientele from there. And we have a lot of new schools, a lot of new housing bringing younger people in, so we’re getting new customers.”
“We’re a small town where everybody knows everyone and trusts everyone,” Kelsea says. “So they can refer family and friends to us, and we don’t have to advertise. We started out advertising, but we don’t now. Word-of-mouth and Facebook is all we need. It’s nice.”
While the three women have their share of admirers, visitors love to drop by to say hello to Mendy’s labradoodle, Bodie, and Rita’s albino Australian shepherd, appropriately named CZ. “Customers come in just to greet the dogs and give them a treat,” Kelsea says.
As one happy customer says on the store’s website: “Heavenly Pines is where anyone looking for jewelry in Moore County should start! You walk in to be greeted by friendly pups who are very happy you are in their store! Their warm welcome is quickly followed by the owners - all family - how amazing is that anymore?! They are professional, kind and very friendly.”