62 years later, Covington Jewelers closing doors

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A landmark in Opp retail history will close its doors in the coming months.

Covington Jewelers, which opened in July 1953, began as a jewelry store, but has expanded three times over the years.

Shown is Mr. Bill Pugh, at Covington Jewelers before he passed away three years ago.  File photo

Shown is Mr. Bill Pugh, at Covington Jewelers before he passed away three years ago.
File photo

Willie Lester “Bill” Pugh was responsible for the jewel of downtown.

In 1990, Pugh’s son-in-law, Henry Hornsby, joined him at the store and Hornsby has been at the store ever since.

Pugh died three years ago.

“I was an engineer at Dorsey Trailers,” Hornsby said. “My wife wanted to teach. She was in there running the business. So, she went back to school and I started working here.”

Hornsby said he had spent weeks during Christmas working in the family business, so he had an idea of what it was like.

“It was a matter of stepping into the role,” he said. “I knew what was going on.

Hornsby said closing the shop is bittersweet, but it’s time for them to retire.

“My wife, Janice, is a teacher, and she has one more year of work,” he said. “We are hoping to enjoy our grandkids.”

Hornsby said he and his wife haven’t spent Christmas or Thanksgiving with their families in 20-25 years.

“Nobody is coming up through the ranks,” he said. “All of our children have other careers.”

Right now, Hornsby said they are just trying to get rid of the inventory they have left.

The store employs one person, but Hornsby said at the height of the business it employed nine.

“This is just something we’ve been talking about doing since Mr. Pugh died,” he said. “It hasn’t felt the same without him.”

Hornsby said it’s bittersweet.

“It’s been a part of Janice’s life since she was 3 and mine for the last 27 or 28 years,” he said.

Hornsby said they are expanding hours to help move the merchandise.

New hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The last day of business will be Nov. 21, he said.