731Alum: Bringing a PIECE of 731 to the World

Dana Pruitt works to complete orders for Christmas in her home.
A unique choker made with a rough cut crystal and a gold chain

For Dana Pruitt, the 731 is a very big PIECE of her story.

Dana grew up in Troy, Tennessee and is a graduate of Obion County High School. She spent her childhood on a farm with her parents who were both local area teachers. She recalls growing up in a time in which “everyone helped raise everyone”. Her athletic ability landed her in Murfreesboro, where she would play MTSU women’s basketball for two years before a foot injury would end her career. She pursued a degree in Public Relations with a minor in English. Upon the completion of her degree, Dana stayed in Murfreesboro for 10 years without a thought about returning to Troy.

Eventually, Dana’s priorities changed. She began to long for the people that made Troy special to her. She missed the value of a small, supportive community and realized everything she wanted to accomplish could be done in small town Tennessee.  When she moved back, the same supportive community she longed for and helped raise her is the one that encouraged her to turn her hobby into her own jewelry business.  PIECE was born after a final nudge from her husband because “the worst thing would be she would just have a lot of cool jewelry for herself.”

PIECE’s primary line of product consists of handcrafted, one-of-a-kind works of art. Her jewelry brings a unique design to the marketplace, using ornamental stones broken into slices, chips or, slabs.   Dana says that she is committed to making each piece unique for the customer just as “each customer is unique in their own right.” For Dana, PIECE is a way to feel connected to the world from right here in the 731. “Nationally, people are drawn to the handcrafted aspect of the company—a small business, husband and wife team that makes the jewelry at the kitchen table in their Tennessee farmhouse.” says Dana.

Dana knows the 731 brings unique qualities to her business that could not be found in a big city.  One of those defining qualities is the value of the people and local business that make up the community. There is a sense of pride in knowing, when you shop from a local person, you know you are helping to support their family and helping them reach their goals.  Dana is a strong believer in the diversity and tenacity of the 731 area. “We are a very diverse community with many subsets of people.  We have people getting things done and having an impact on the world. We are not the dying region that is played out in your typical stereotype.”

We are so excited small business owners like Dana are in the 731 area! Check out PIECE Jewelry at www.piecejewelry.com.

Written by Shae Tyler for Project 731.

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