Business Spotlight

Jongee's Gifts & Furnishings


Editor’s note. City of Sparta and The Expositor are partnering in a venture to feature city businesses. Each week, Mayor Jerry Lowery and City Administrator Tonya Tindle are providing a video production that highlights a specific business. In turn, The Expositor will publish a story about that business. “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.” (Harry S. Truman, former president of the United States)


Jongee’s Gifts and Furnishings is a well-known, unique, hometown shop that sits in the middle of Sparta just across from City Hall. But Jongee’s has gone through many changes through the years before evolving into the chic boutique it has become.

In July 1986, Jongee, whom the store is named after, first opened the shop as an antique store on South Young Street, just off Liberty Square.

“I moved here because there was a house I wanted,” she recalled, “and Ms. Irene had had a store out front when it was hers, and I thought, ‘well, I can do that too.’”

Jongee’s made a name for itself selling antique furniture but then added gifts to their inventory. Things like table settings and household decor began popping up on gift lists, and the unique little store became a popular place for wedding registries.

In 1990, Jongee moved her store to a shopping center on Spring Street where she thought the added traffic from the Food Lion grocery store would boost business. But after just two years, she realized she missed the personality of the little shop across town and moved the store back to its roots. Eight years later, however, and there was no way to keep growing in the tiny store, and Jongee’s took a giant step and moved to a three-story building on Bockman Way.

In 2000, when Jongee’s took up residence in what was a very quiet section of Bockman Way at the time, the decision to discontinue used/antique items was made. A complete shift to focus on gifts and boutique items was made. Five years later, clothes and jewelry were added to the store’s regular lineup up of inventory.

“Business was slow when we first moved over here,” Jongee said about leaving her little shop and moving to the big building on Sparta’s main road, adding that she was thankful for her regular customers that followed her move and kept her going. “Most people just passed on by on their way to where they were going. There was no reason for them to be in here.”

However, in the last several years, the downtown area of Sparta has grown up and foot traffic has increased, which, in turn, has made Jongee’s a lot more attractive to new shoppers.

“With the brewery here and the pizza place across the street, plus the coffee shop, there’s a lot more people walking around and spending time in the shops here,” she said. “I love all the new traffic and seeing how this whole area is growing.”

Jongee’s is not done evolving. A new online presence at lets people from all over the world shop through the little Sparta boutique. And, while at one time it was not uncommon to find all high-end items in the shop, now there are multiple price points for all items. With gifts starting at less than $5 and others priced at over $1,000 and plenty of options in between, there is truly something for all shoppers at Sparta’s oldest boutique.

“I have never thought about leaving,” Jongee said, adding that after having opened her store almost 40 years ago, it is the place where she always wants to be. “My daughter and son-in-law have moved here, and, with them helping, we hope to keep Jongee’s here for another 40 years.”     


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