Barton-Clay Fine Jewelers
Having grown up on Canterbury Road in Mountain Brook, Sperry Snow, like many contemporary youth in our community, often rode his bicycle to Mountain Brook Village to enjoy its many appealing establishments. During his travels through the village he was often perplexed by its lack of a clock tower, having noticed that other villages of the sort often contained such a structure.
So years later in 1995, when Sperry, along with his business partner Eric McClain, wished to open their shop in the middle of the village, they communicated clearly to the architect who constructed the unique landmark of Barton-Clay Jewelers that they wished to have such a structure outside of their jewelry store.
To this day, Barton-Clay Jewelers remains a recognized and respected Mountain Brook establishment; recognized in the sense that its façade remains one of Mountain Brook Village’s most memorable sights, and respected as a result of both a continuous reputation for fine craftsmanship and a devoted attention to customer service.
“The thing that I enjoy most about this business, and when I say this business, I refer to the business of running this particular jewelry store in Mountain Brook, is definitely the relationships that I have come to develop over the years with the customers, the people of our community.” Indeed, any shopkeeper in Mountain Brook is usually guaranteed to have the privilege of this unique connection with his or her customers, which is why, after having worked in the jewelry business for fifteen years, Sperry Snow and Eric McClain chose to re-situate their careers in the jewelry business in 1987, making the decision to move from the removed, legalistic happenings of a large jewelry company to the smaller, more personable business structure that exists within Mountain Brook.
“We saw a shift in management from a local to a national basis,” Snow recalls. “The former emphasis on the quality of our products gave way to a preoccupation with cost. Eric and I didn’t like what we were seeing. That company was becoming the exact opposite of everything we thought a good jewelry store ought to be.” First setting up shop on Culver Road, and then moving in 1995 to their present location in Mountain Brook Village, Sperry and Eric began to create an establishment that would epitomize the ideals of what they believed made up a successful, yet caring jewelry business.
To this day Barton-Clay jewelers continues to house and create some of the finest jewelry items that can be found in our community, and the surrounding Birmingham area. Even in the face of the recent recession, which Sperry claimed to, “have a noticeable effect on the store,” the establishment continues to offer specialized wares and dependable customer care in both the areas of customization and repair. In addition to offering their famous classic and “signature” jewelry items, the most popular of which are made of diamonds, the store also sells high end gift ware for weddings and graduations.
Also bolstering the store’s ethos of amiable customer relations is the fact that most Barton-Clay jewelry items are designed and crafted locally through a process that begins with a sketching of the client’s desired piece and ends with a casting and molding procedure to finish off the final product.
Over the years Sperry Snow and the loyal staff of Barton and Clay have perpetually fostered a dedicated relationship with an equally faithful clientele, and such a relationship has yielded many genuinely touching moments. “There have been several instances where customers have planned marriage proposals in the store”, says Sperry. In one such instance, the staff hid a video recording device in the store, while a certain male customer pretended to purchase a watch for his girlfriend who was unaware that he was about to pop the question. Sperry describes the instance as, “one of the most memorable experiences he has had during his ownership of the store.”