By Joseph McCain The Winston County Journal
The shelves in Perry’s Department are past empty and many are sold. After 60 years of business the doors are permanently closed. Odie Keen, owner of Perry’s, never thought he would do anything else but the economy, loss of business and something else made him come to the hard choice of closing the family business. “It sure has been sad but a lot of wonderful memories,” said Keen who decided to close the business when had to find employment to that would pay for college for his two children and would not have to worry about store profits or losses. Keen who started working for his uncle Perry E. Lunceford Jr. straight of college in 1976 was glad to join the family business. Lunceford and his wife Bertha started the store in July of 1951. Lunceford’s business was a family business. When he first opened, he partnered with his brother H.W. Lunceford to build up the business and soon had 11 stores across the state. Lunceford with what appeared to be plans to build a stronger family side of the business hired his brother-in-law (Odie Keen’s) father to get his family moved from Memphis to Louisville. “He was helping my family by hiring my dad and moving from the rat race in Memphis,” said Keen. “My dad was working three jobs at the time and moving to Louisville was a relief for him.” The business continued to grow and while Keen’s father moved onto another job in the community, Lunceford had plans for Odie Keen to join the business and maybe with plans to take it over one day. “He never really though about retiring but I imagine he did plan to pass on the business to his family,” said Keen. Keen took over the business about 20 years ago and his uncle Perry Lunceford continued to help others in the community as well as serving his church up until his death. “My uncle was one of the humblest persons and was always helping others,” said Perry. While his uncle Perry Lunceford opened the doors on Perry’s to help his family to have a better future, Odie Keen closed the doors in order to insure his family had a better future as well. Keen thanked all the persons who supported the business over the 60 years and for all the wonderful times working in the store. To recognize those customers the store held a giveaway of prizes on its final days before closing. Several customers earned nice prizes with J.J. Jenkins winning the top prize of a laptop from the giveaway. Over 840 customers participated in the final sales day giveaways.