After the first of the year, the sign outside Las Savell Jewelry in Midtown should probably read: "Las Savell Makes Memphis a Better Place."
The man behind the Midtown jewelry institution at McLean and Union — and the sign outside that touts the good deeds of well-known Memphians and average Joes — is retiring from the business after 30 years. But Las Savell the store, which specializes in unique fine jewelry, will remain open.Flyer: How did you get into the jewelry business?
I decided to try something new, so I started selling [jewelry] at flea markets. It grew from that into gold parties in people's homes. That grew into my first little store on Calhoun Street, right behind the Arcade Restaurant.
I stayed there for a year, and then I moved down on Union Avenue by Kimbrough Towers. I stayed there three years, and then I moved [to the current location] in 1984.Why the decision to retire?
I'm 75 years old, and I've worked six or seven days a week for 30 years. I haven't had a chance to take vacations or trips. I want to be able to do that with my wife.
Are your dogs retiring, too?
They'll be "retiring" like me. If I want to go somewhere during the day, I'll drop them off [at the store]. They'll continue to do their good PR.
I'll miss working with customers. They're my friends. And I'll miss the nitty-gritty details of running the business.What will you do with your free time?
I don't really have a hobby, except music has been a great part of my and my wife's life. We both sing. We started out in the 1960s doing opera in Memphis, and we studied in Italy.
I also like to sculpt with clay, but I've never had any training in it. I must say I'm pretty good at it. I have a few pieces here in the store, and people who are recognized sculptors in town have complimented me on them. I just want to do what I want to do.