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JCPenney celebrates 70 years

Andalusia’s JCPenney celebrated its 70th anniversary Monday at the store’s location in the Covington Mall.

“I’ve been in Andalusia since 2005 and think this city’s one of the state’s best kept secrets,” store manager Dennis Cockrell said at the morning’s ribbon cutting ceremony. “We look forward to serving this community for many years more. There aren’t a lot of businesses that have been around for 70 years.”

Members of the city council and Chamber of Commerce attended the meeting, along with Mayor Earl Johnson and previous store manager Ginger Spry. Johnson said he remembered when JCPenney first opened a new downtown location when he was a boy.

“I’ll always remember that the new store had air conditioning,” Johnson said. “It was the 1950s and air conditioning was still a pretty new thing, and they were one of the first places to have in Andalusia. I spent a lot of time in that store during the hot summer.

“This store is a great asset to our community. (The employees) here are great folks.”

The store opened Aug. 17, 1939, in downtown Andalusia, and J.H. Kilgore was the store’s first manager. JCPenney moved from its original downtown location to a new location at 205 East Three Notch St. in 1954. The store closed its East Three Notch Street location Oct. 30, 1982, and relocated to the Covington Mall.

The original downtown location featured 3,630 square feet of selling space. The existing location has more than 28,000 square feet of selling space, a styling salon and a catalog sales desk.