Ralph Overstreet opened a jewelry store on the north side of Bentonville in 1948. He had just returned home from World War II. Since then, he's been working hard, and putting a ‘whoopin'’ on Father Time.
Overstreet is 95-years-old now, and still working six days a week.
"I can come and go as I please anymore,” Overstreet said. “I try to get here by ten o'clock and work till noon. Then I go home at noon and take a nap and then come back around 3:30 p.m. If there's some work to do, I’ll work till 6 p.m. If not, I'll go home.”
When he opened Overstreet's there were only 2,200 people in Bentonville. Overstreet’s has always been on the square, but they've had to move locations a few times.
Once he had to move the business because some new guy in town named Sam Walton had plans for a “5-and-dime.”
“There were two businesses in the right half of the building and he wanted the whole building for his dime store,” Overstreet said.
Overstreet and his beloved wife, Belle, became friends with the Walton family and anybody else who came in the store. Consider that many generations of many families have been customers of Overstreet.
Thank goodness he made it back from the war because his unit was bombed repeatedly.
“A bomb landed in the swamp about a city block from us,” he said. “That was the closest we ever got hit. It was when a Japanese bomber jettisoned his bombs over us.”
After making it back in one piece, it was time to concentrate on time pieces. He earned a degree from the prestigious Elgin Watch College in Chicago.
Overstreet's started as a watch repair store, but has evolved into a full-service jeweler offering diamonds, bridal-engagement, and custom design services.
He doesn't plan to stop working anytime soon, but it's nice to know that one of his sons and grandson have joined the staff. That ensures that Overstreet's Jewelry will continue shining like a perfectly cut diamond for many years to come.