Meet Our Team
James "Toddy" Pitard Jr. – Owner & CEO
Toddy began working for Murphy's Jewelers during his sophomore year at El Dorado High School. He ran errands, took out the trash and cleaned windows and cases. Upon graduation from El Dorado High School, Toddy attended Trenton Jewelry School and became a Certified Bench Jeweler. Toddy truly loved what he was doing and decided to once more attend Trenton Jewelry School to obtain his certification as a Master Jeweler. He worked alongside Bruce Seller, a Master Jeweler, and quickly became one of the most skilled craftsmen in Southern Arkansas. After many years of hard work and dedicated service, he was offered a partnership in the business. It was previously owned by Jerome “Jay” Murphy Jr., whose father was the founder of Murphy's Jewelers. Upon Jay's retirement Toddy, and his wife Amanda, purchased the business outright in 2001. Since that time, the Pitards have continued the Murphy legacy of quality, craftsmanship, integrity and service while making instrumental changes resulting in remarkable growth for the business. Toddy believes in giving back to the community through Murphy-Pitard Jewelers. The company and family is involved in many charitable organizations throughout our hometown of El Dorado. He strives for perfection whether it be quality checking a client's beloved pieces, creating a new piece of jewelry or even changing your watch battery.
Amanda Pitard – Owner & Graduate Gemologist
Amanda graduated from El Dorado High School and attended the University of Central Arkansas Conway. There she earned her Master's Degree in Physical Therapy so she could begin helping people. Amanda moved home to El Dorado in 1998 and worked at SAMA Healthcare Services as their Director of Rehabilitation. Amanda started helping out at MPJ after a key employee left the company and, in turn, the business truly became family-operated once more. She found herself falling in love with the trade and enrolled in gemology classes in 2004 to become more knowledgeable and educated about her new industry. In 2005 she dove into studying the trade and she has been dedicated to learning everything about it ever since. Recently, she graduated from the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad, California earning her Graduate Gemologist Degree – the highest degree attainable. She loves educating people about diamonds so they can truly understand and appreciate not only the beauty of diamonds, but how each diamond is unique, has its own story to tell. She also loves design work and recreating inherited pieces by turning them into something that is unique for her clients.
"I love that jewelry is not just material – it's so much deeper. Murphy-Pitard becomes a part of people's story – whether it's the first chapter of a love story, lifetime memory, baby or reinventing an heirloom. We're selling something that bonds us to our clients. We get to be a part of your lives for that brief in-store process and then we are with you for eternity."
Wildflower Pope – Office Manager & Sales Associate
Wildflower has been a fundamental member of the Murphy-Pitard family since February of 2014. She has exceled not only on the sales floor as one of our primary Sales Team members, but also as our Office Manager. She is constantly taking inventory, upholding the office behind the scenes, bonding with customers and cleaning and repairing client's beautiful pieces. She has over twenty years of customer service and administrative experience which makes her ideal for her position at Murphy-Pitard. Wildflower also enjoys training our new Sales Team members and setting others up for success. Her favorite part about working at Murphy-Pitard is assisting clients find their perfect piece and the ability to learn something new every day!
Kate Powell – Director of Marketing
Kate began her position at Murphy-Pitard in September 2017. She and her husband, Joshua Powell, moved to El Dorado from Houston, Texas after Josh began his career at Murphy USA. Kate, originally from Weatherford, Texas, attended Texas A & M University and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Horticulture and a Professional Event Management Certification. After several years in event planning and catering, Kate progressed into marketing and found her home with Murphy-Pitard. She enjoys meeting new people in the community, spending time with her dog, Winston, and attending any event Halloween or Christmas related. She loves creating memories for MPJ clients and turning even the smallest purchase into a fantastic experience.
Don Wilson – Horologist
Our professional watch repairman, Don, attended Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas and was a graduate of Bradley University Technical School of Horology in Peoria, Illinois. Don comes from a long line of watchmakers and his family members were a critical part of his learning. “My father, brother and uncles were all watchmakers who helped me in my training”, says Don. He and his wife, Becky, a Registered Nurse in Camden, Arkansas, have been married since 1972. They have two daughters, Cara and Julie who are both married to ministers in El Dorado, and another daughter, Suzanne, who lives with her husband in Pocahontas, Arkansas. The Wilsons migrated from Pocahontas to El Dorado to spend more time with their ten wonderful grandchildren. Fun fact, Don was a Justice of the Peace in Pocahontas and has married over 2,000 couples!
"It's exciting to be on staff at one of the finest jewelry stores in Arkansas. I consider it an honor and privilege to work with Amanda, Toddy and their team. All that I have ever known is the jewelry business and I am looking forward to helping the Pitards and their customers with repairs on all makes and models of watches."
Teri Beth Mitchell – Sales Associate
Teri Beth was born and raised in El Dorado, Arkansas. She is a 2009 graduate of El Dorado High School and attended South Arkansas Community College. Teri Beth is has been involved in the El Dorado Service League since 2015 and enjoys assisting in their annual Masquerade Ball. She appreciates our community and interacting with all of our clients that pop in to the store. Teri Beth enjoys recreating our window displays for themed events and happenings in our hometown. Her cheerful laugh is sure to brighten your day!
Sydney Donahue – Sales Associate
Sydney is an El Dorado native. She has been on the Sales Team at Murphy-Pitard Jewelers since August 2016. She is currently enrolled at South Arkansas Community College to pursue her dream of becoming an Occupational Therapy Assistant. Sydney loves working at Murphy-Pitard because of the family-like atmosphere and all of the smiling customers that walk through the door.
"Since I've worked at Murphy-Pitard, I've been educated on more than just jewelry – I've learned about customer service and how important it is to remember clients whether they are local or from out of town. It's great being able to remember those details. I love working at Murphy-Pitard because it's always something different every day, and it challenges me in every way, not only to be a better employee but also to be a better person!"
Manuel "Manny" G. Rodriguez – Bench Jeweler
Manny has over 32 years of experience in the jewelry business. He migrated to El Dorado, Arkansas in October 2017 to take the position of Bench Jeweler at Murphy-Pitard. He is a self-described “old school goldsmith” specializing as a bench jeweler and stone setter. Manny attended Mountain View College in Dallas, Texas to become a horologist. Subsequently, while working at a Sterling Jewelers in the Dallas, he found himself at the bench repairing, setting and resizing for the store. Manny apprenticed under seven Master Jewelers and venerates the trade. In his spare time he focuses on his first love, clock making. He also is a master calligrapher and enjoys advanced origami. Needless to say, you're treasures are in steadfast and experienced hands with Manny.
Michael is a certified Master Watchmaker from Upstate New York with over 40 years of watch repair experience. He has the amazing capability to repair all brands of watches including high-end timepieces. He was employed by the renowned Mann’s Jewelers in Rochester, New York for 35 years in which his honed his skills and expertise, all while maintaining his own personal watch repair business.
Michael and his lovely wife, Cheryl, recently moved to El Dorado from Upstate New York. They have three children and one beautiful granddaughter. He enjoys walking, traveling and spending time with his family.