5 things you didn't know about Tony Sanders

By NIKKI ROWELL,

1. He got started in the jewelry business shortly after college graduation and never left.

2. He is a fan of all sports and likes to play golf and tennis.

3. Trips to the beach with his family are his favorite vacations.

4. He and his wife met at Mississippi State University and their son attends there now.

5. He serves on the state Jeweller’s Association board, Diabetes of Mississippi board and Jackson Rotary.

If you were to ask Tony Sanders, the store manager at Lee Michaels in Ridgeland, why he chose this career path, his first answer is, “We’re in the celebration business.”

Sanders feels a connection with the customers at Lee Michaels, as he has been there for many during some of their biggest life moments, from engagements to anniversaries to the birth of children.

“It’s exciting, and it’s fun,” Sanders said. “Just to get to celebrate with them. We’re definitely in the relationship business. Our clients turn into our friends.”

The Hamilton native attended Northeast Junior College before going to Mississippi State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business with an emphasis in finance. He later graduated from the Gemological Institute of America.

After a brief stint in the insurance business, he took a job in the jewelry business and never looked back.

“I’ve pretty much been in this business ever since,” he said. Sanders has moved around from Montgomery, Alabama, to Charleston, South Carolina, to St. Augustine, Florida, before moving back home to Mississippi.

Sanders has worked at Lee Michaels for more than six years.

“What attracted me to Lee Michaels was their reputation in the industry, it’s impeccable,” Sanders said.

The family-owned business has been around for more than 41 years.

“I’ve never worked for a company that has given back to the community that it’s a part of as much as Lee Michaels,” Sanders said. “It’s an honor to be able to participate.”

Lee Michaels carries several designer brands including David Yurman, Gucci Timepiece, Mikimoto, Rolex and more.

Sanders said Lee Michaels is the only authorized dealer in the state of Mississippi that carries both David Yurman and Rolex.

In addition to these brands, Sanders said they also carry a wide selection of bridal jewelry, including engagement rings and wedding bands.

Customers looking for something more personal, an on-site jeweler can help custom build pieces specifically tailored to them.

“We do custom work and design in all facets,” Sanders said. “There’s not really anything that we don’t do.”

Jewelry cleaning and inspection are offered as a complimentary service. On-staff jewelers can also perform repairs on the premises. Watch repair is also available by expert watchmakers.

For Sanders, the best part of the business is the relationships he forms with his coworkers, customers and members of the community.

“Our business is about celebrating and relationships, and that’s what is so fun and exciting about it,” he said.

For more information, a full list of designers or shopping, visit the Lee Michaels website at lmfj.com.

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1. He drove a blue ‘77 Chevy Nova in high school. 2. He played on Jackson Prep’s 1985 and 1986 state championship basketball teams.