It's the end of an era for an iconic Jasper business, as Andrew Posey & Son Hardware will close its doors in the near future, yet the memories inside its doors are still very much alive.
Randy Posey and his wife, Janice, now operate the 97-year-old business and announced last year that the building along 20th Street West was up for sale. Despite the couple's love for Posey's, they are ready to retire and are looking for a buyer who will hopefully keep the nostalgic nature of the store intact.
"I just cannot do it justice anymore," Randy Posey said. "I think it's time to turn it over to someone else."
To appreciate the nearly century-long history of Andrew Posey & Son Hardware, one must explore its roots that span four generations.
George Washington Posey, a veterinarian, opened G.W. Posey & Son Feed & Groceries in 1924. He primarily cared for livestock in his veterinary practice but had a strong passion for operating the store as well.
Randy Posey said the store was originally located in an old wooden building behind the current store location. Just as the Great Depression began, the store's current building was constructed.
"They said they don't know how they did it, but one thing, they hired one bricklayer and one carpenter to build this building, and all the other labor was done by day laborers," Posey said, recalling the stories of his great-grandfather.
Randy Posey said that when the weather was bad the Posey's could not travel back and forth from the store to their home near Oakman, so they built a small living area at the new store. Remnants of the living quarters still fill a back segment of the store today, including a quaint kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom.
The store primarily sold groceries, feed and dry goods and later began selling appliances.
G.W.'s son, Andrew, worked at the store and quickly realized that selling televisions could be profitable for the business, and Posey's soon became the first business in Jasper to sell televisions. Selling televisions also led to Andrew having his own television repair workshop in the back of the business. It's an area filled with television tubes, tools and a couple of old televisions that still exists to this day, just as he left it.
When G.W. Posey passed away in the 1940s, Andrew Posey changed the business name to Andrew Posey & Son Hardware.
Large grocery stores started opening in Jasper in the '50s and '60s, and Andrew Posey knew the store had to transition its business plan to survive. Traditional areas of the store such as its meat market and vegetable stand quickly faded, and more hardware and general merchandise filled store shelves.
Andrew Posey operated the store for many years but spent the majority of his time in his beloved television workshop after suffering a heart attack in his 50s. His son, Hershel (Randy's father), then primarily ran the business.
Randy was in Atlanta working as an accountant for a construction company in the 1970s. He soon met his now-wife, Janice. They married and later welcomed a baby girl. In 1977, Posey and his young family made the move back to Jasper.
"Things were just booming here in the early '70s," Randy Posey said of Jasper. "All the coal mines were going crazy. People were building houses everywhere, and we were selling hardware and plumbing for houses. Dad needed someone to come back."
Hershel Posey, a decorated WWII veteran, operated the store until 2005 and handed the reigns over to his son, Randy. Hershel Posey passed away five years later in 2010.
Randy and Janice Posey have continued to operate the business and have been selling many of the classic items that were displayed in the store for decades.
The sale has been emotional for the Posey's and for their loyal customers.
"It's become a landmark. Some people have come in with tears in their eyes when they saw we were going to close," Randy Posey said. "They hate that we're closing, but time moves on."
As the store's wooden floors creaked beneath their feet, Randy and Janice Posey reminisced about Andrew Posey & Son in late April as they walked around and were surrounded by baskets, tools, old electronics, Coca-Cola memorabilia, and other items that have always lined the walls.
"Being able to look back and see all the things that my great-grandparents touched and worked on and built is really special," Randy Posey said. "To be able to look at that and know that you're now working with the same things they worked with — the same building, the same rooms."
Randy said he hopes customers through the years felt at home.
"[I hope they remember] it was a friendly place to shop and they could get what they need, and that we were always here to help," he said.
The closing date for Andrew Posey & Son has not been announced. Its current hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.