I’m not a fan of new and flashy. Call me an old fogey, but this is who I am. I get attached to things like restaurants and stores and don’t like to see them go away. Don’t call me resistant to change, because things in the business world have to evolve and move forward. I get that and live it every day. But most of the situations that I don’t like are more about departure than change.
The latest one hits pretty hard. It was somewhat expected and probably inevitable, but one of the backbones of downtown Covington, Sellman’s Furniture, is closing.
For those of you who don’t know, Marias isn’t buried in some business park in suburbia or in a skyscraper somewhere. We are smackdab in the middle of the downtown of this small, rural, farming community. Many of us grew up in this town or ones just like it. So, we get to know everyone around us very well. We are also very active in our community. The businesses in our town become very close.
Sellman’s started business in 1932 and moved to downtown Covington in 1938. For most of us, they’ve always been here. My grandparents’ furniture, my parents’ furniture, and all the furniture my wife and I have purchased came from there.
As a kid, I would walk through almost 40,000 square feet of furniture, bedding, and flooring with amazement. This was in their heyday in the ‘80s when Sellman’s ran delivery trucks almost daily all over this region. If you told anyone you were from Covington, the next thing they would likely say was that they came to Covington to buy their furniture at Sellman’s.
This week we made one last trip to Sellman’s to make one last purchase. A lot of memories are there. My mother passed a number of years ago. We’d made quite a few trips to Sellman’s as a family. It was hard not to reminisce while walking among all those pieces of furniture one last time.
This past weekend, as I watched the delivery guys bring in that last piece of furniture, walking past our living room, dining room, and bedroom full of furniture from Sellman’s, it really brought it all back. I don’t know where our little downtown goes from here or where our family buys furniture from the same kind of caring people, but I guess we’ll all figure out something.
The one thing we can’t do is blame Jane and everyone at Sellman’s for their decision to close their doors. Instead, we should thank them. They have anchored the downtown for over 80 years. The way people buy everything, including furniture, has changed. Sellman’s fought to stay in the game longer than many people might have. I’m very thankful that Jane, her family, and her staff members kept going as long as they did.
Enjoy your retirement Jane, you’ve earned it. Thanks for everything you and your family have done for Covington and your customers.
R. Christopher “Chris” Haines is president and CEO of Marias Technology and a lifelong resident of Covington.