Harold’s celebrates 40 years

Published 1:23 am Friday, June 3, 2016

June Simpson and her daughter, Janna Marsh pose for a photo at Thursday’s celebration.

June Simpson and her daughter, Janna Marsh pose for a photo at Thursday’s celebration.

Thursday, a giant cake was erected in the parking lot of Harold’s Furniture.

“It’s not my retirement cake,” owner June Simpson said. “Just my anniversary.”

Simpson is marking 40 years as a part of Harold’s, named for her late father, Harold Grimes, who opened the store 41 years ago.

“I came in August of 1976,” she said. “When school started, I started.”

At the time, she said, she wasn’t thinking about the store as a career opportunity.

“I had no long-range plans for it,” she said.

The store has changed a lot since then, she said.

“Daddy was a junker,” she said. “He would go an buy factory rejects, or tests, and turn around and sell them.”

She recalled visiting her sister in Louisiana with her father one Thanksgiving.

“They went to a yard sale, and Daddy bought 100 garbage can lids,” she said. “He sold every one of them. That was back in the day when you had metal garbage cans, and what was the first thing to tear up? The lids.

“We don’t do that anymore,” Simpson said. “We’ve upscaled several times.”

Simpson is one of six children. “I came here; Jeff had Harold’s in Opp, which he sold, and Jimmy had the mattress factory,” she said. “The other three were school teachers.”

Interestingly enough, the three siblings who entered the business world were right-handed; the teachers were all left-handed.

Just as she worked with her father, Simpson’s daughter, Janna Douglas Marsh, works with her mother at Harold’s. Her grandchildren also have grown up in the store, she said, adding that 8-year-old granddaughter Natalie operates the cash register as well as any employee.

“Owning a small business is a roller coaster ride. You have ups and downs, but you just hang on for the ride,” she said.

And despite that large cake in the parking lot, she has no plans to retire.

“I still love coming to work every day,” she said.