Joe and Judy Jones own both Countrypolitan and The Other Jones Store in Abilene. Most days locals will see Judy cross Broadway Street several times a day to take care of things at both locations.
“The stores are across the street and a little catty-corner from each other,” Judy said. “I go back and forth between the two regularly. There are many days I wish they were beside each other so I could knock a hole in the wall between the two. It would make things a lot easier sometimes.”
The Joneses have owned Countrypolitan for 21 years. It is primarily an antiques and home decor store. Ten years ago they opened The Other Jones Store. It is a next to new clothing store for the whole family.
The Other Jones Store is a doubly creative name since it literally was the couple’s “other” store across the street and because you could say it was a different take on the Jones Store Company stores in the Kansas City area that ceased operations in 2006.
Just like the Jones Store Company stores, The Other Jones Store sells “everything from prom dresses to baby items, shoes, jewelry, jackets and toys,” Judy said. “We purchase name-brand, high dollar items; better quality items that people don’t want to just donate for the store.”
When the pandemic hit last year Judy said they had to close down both stores for the six weeks during the mandated closures. Since then they have reopened for their regular business hours. Being closed for that month and a half was hard on them, but Judy said the community has been very supportive of both businesses.
“Sales have been steady since the reopen of the stores,” Judy said. “We have lots of great regular customers. We’ve had a lot of community support.”
While this was true of both stores it was especially true of her The Other Jones Store customers.
“There’s not a lot of clothing stores in the town,” Judy said. “We help fill that void for the town. And I think the locals felt safer here, staying in a smaller town to do their shopping.”
In some ways she feels the pandemic even helped The Other Jones Store by bringing in some additional business from out of town customers.
“People started coming from Salina because other stores were not allowing people to try on clothes before purchasing or had crazy return policies,” Judy said.
She didn’t see that as much at the Countrypolitan store.
“Business has been a little slower there but still not too bad,” Judy said.
The main difference between the two stores during the pandemic concerned supply. New merchandise was much harder to come by for the Countrypolitan store.
“As soon as the pandemic hit, most auctions were cancelled and there hasn’t been many since to go to,” Judy said. “That’s where I get a lot of my items for Countrypolitan from.”
With her supply greatly reduced Judy had to get a little more creative at seeking out items to fill her store.
“Most of my buys came from individuals this year,” Judy said. “Mainly from people downsizing their homes. I got most items from people because they were moving.”
She had the opposite problem at The Other Jones Store. She almost had too much supply.
“People were stuck at home with nothing to do,” Judy said, “so they started going through their closets and cleaning them out. There was an overwhelming amount of clothes that came in.”
A year later she said things are starting to even out a bit and hopes that things can go “back to normal” soon. With the number of COVID cases going down and restrictions starting to ease a bit, there are a few things she hopes take place again soon.
“I’m really looking forward to auctions and garage sales to be held again so I can start building my inventory back up again,” Judy said. “I miss going to those. And I am really looking forward to the tourists coming back into the stores again. I’m ready for things to get back to business as usual.”
Countrypolitan is located at 317 N. Broadway. Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10am-5pm, Sun. 1pm-5pm. The Other Jones Store is located at 312 N. Broadway. Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10am-5pm.
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