1657 N. McFarland Blvd. Suite G3D, Tuscaloosa, AL 35406

205-752-3511

Mon–Fri 9:30 AM–5:00 PM • Sat 9:30 AM–4 PM • Sun closed

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The Fincher & Ozment Story

In 1904, The Tuscaloosa Times Gazette spoke of Roosevelt and the Monroe Doctrine, French unfriendliness, anti-trust issues, lynchings in Virginia and Mississippi, political battles and train collisions. It mourned leading citizens with great sensitivity. It told of an expedition to Alaska, riots in Poland and the canonization of Saint Joan of Arc. It advertised corsets and caskets, shoes and fertilizer, hats and train trips. And among all the local events, one might have noticed the opening of a new jewelry store, Fincher & Ozment Jewelry Co. on Sixth Street, in the heart of downtown.

It all came about when Dr. Thomas Jefferson Ozment, a horse and buggy medical doctor, gave his son Truman, an accomplished engraver working for two local jewelry stores at the time, a thousand dollars to start his own business. Truman approached his brother- in-law, William H. Fincher, with the opportunity. Fincher, who had a grocery store, disposed of his holdings and a partnership was formed. William H. Fincher handled the bookkeeping and Truman Ozment handled merchandising, repair, and engraving.

Those early customers loved the experience. The store was filled with exquisite cases of rich woods and curving glass, beautiful high wall cases with glass doors which slid upward as if by magic – bright gold, sparkling gems – gentlemen who prided themselves on artistry and quality, whose first concern was pleasing their customers. The store relocated to 515 Greensboro in the early 1930’s. The Great Depression had descended on America and times were tough. People came to town on Saturday and the store stayed open until the last one left at night, usually around 9:00PM. In the absence of cash, customers paid on their account with commodities. You wouldn’t believe how many cans of syrup and bushels of produce were stored under the counters back in those days.

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William H. Fincher passed away during this time. Truman Ozment’s son, Tom, borrowed what he could to buy some of William’s stock. The remainder was purchased by an employee. That employee’s son, James, eventually became a partner, followed shortly by Tom’s son and Truman’s grandson, Tommy.

The business grew steadily throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s. Increased competition arrived in the form of the new McFarland Mall on the southern end of town. Then in 1980, University Mall opened, bringing four major anchors (Sears, Pizitz [now McRaes], J C Penny and Parisians) and 101 specialty stores. The number of jewelers doubled overnight. We considered moving into the Mall until our accountants told us our volume would have to increase more than $200,000 per year to maintain a profit. So we stayed put, which was probably the wisest decision Tommy ever made.

On January 15, 1985, a “revitalization” of downtown Tuscaloosa began. A six-week project, they said. New sidewalks, flower beds, trees and a center median. But like all construction projects, unforeseen issues arose. New sewer lines, utilities and other concerns dragged things out. Customers had to navigate around 18 inches of freshly-poured concrete to get into our store. There was no parking for two blocks. Volume plummeted for a while, but Fincher & Ozment held on and by the end of September the street was reopened for traffic.

Our oldest partner, James, decided to retire in the spring of 1988. A leverage buyout took place, Tommy Ozment assumed the debt and the store carried on. Then in October 2002, we moved into our current location in the Tuscaloosa Galleria. Some might say being in business for over one hundred years makes us old. We like to think it makes us the most experienced hometown jewelry store in Tuscaloosa.