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Crystal Crown adds sparkle to George County industry

LUCEDALE — There’s a sparkling business — literally — just off Highway 63 near this George County town. Crystal Crown Inc. was born almost 20 years ago when, according to its founder, there was a need for a product and she stepped in to supply it.

Jeri (Geraldine) Snelgrove, who had two daughters involved, learned that beauty pageants were having some difficulty getting crowns and tiaras.

“I’m lucky to have a husband, Ernest, who has a good engineering mind,” she said. “A draftsman by trade, he designed tools and equipment for us to make crowns and I did the crown designs.”

Thus, a family business was born in a small building behind their home. It was named for their oldest daughter, Crystal. Snelgrove says she spent a lot of time on the telephone marketing their products and for a time had five salesmen representing them.

Crystal Crown supplies rhinestone crowns, tiaras and scepters to costume jewelry distributors who in turn sell to individual shops. The George County manufacturer sells directly to the Walt Disney Company and to all Hancock Fabrics stores. Additionally, they sell to companies that supply trophies and crowns to schools, some pageants and costume makers and to a big shop in New Orleans that supplies Mardi Gras krewes. And even though they’re off the beaten path, customers find their way to Crystal Crown’s showroom where samples are on display. Many come to have crowns custom designed by Snelgrove and daughter, Crystal Williams. Austrian rhinestones are used for the precision made crowns which are guaranteed for replacement within 30 days of delivery.

Two timely designs now offered via the company’s Web site are “Fun in the Sun” and “Stars of Freedom.” Crowns can also be made with colored rhinestones and adjustable bands.

“Word of mouth has played a part in it, and our name is well established now,” Snelgrove said. “We ship all over the country and some outside the country.”

She says the spring of the year when schools are having proms and awards ceremonies is Crystal Crown’s busiest time.

The crown manufacturers are now in a modern 7,700-square-foot building and employ 11 people. Although it’s felt the impact of imported crowns made outside the U.S., Snelgrove said Crystal Crown has many loyal customers, some of whom have been buying from her for 20 years.

“We are fighting to keep our customers by giving them the best product and service we can supply,” she said. “Our mission statement is to build a quality product at a reasonable price, promote superior customer service and deliver on time.”

She is equally proud of the longevity and lack of turnover among Crystal Crown’s employees. “We are only as good as our team members,” she said, “and they help us perfect the dream.”

Ernest Snelgrove is still involved by maintaining the company’s equipment. Crystal Williams does graphic design by computer and maintains the Web site. The Snelgrove’s other daughter, Holly Scrivner, works with them part time.

“I’ve always been involved with it, so I don’t think about the company being named for me,” Williams said.

Sue Wright, executive director of the George County Economic Development Foundation, said of Crystal Crown, “They add sparkle to our county and they’re the crown jewel of our industrial base. Because they sell nationwide, that gives us nationwide exposure. It’s a clean industry using skilled workers.”

Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at mbj@msbusiness.com.

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