Teacher’s Tool­box cel­e­brates its last Christ­mas on the square

The Covington News - - Shop at home for the holidays -

This Christ­mas will be a bit­ter­sweet one for Bobby and De­bra Hamby. Af­ter 13 years in busi­ness on the Cov­ing­ton square, the Teacher’s Tool­box will be clos­ing at the end of Jan­uary.

“We’ve been ag­o­niz­ing over it for a while and fi­nally came to the de­ci­sion,” Hamby said. The past three months saw par­tic­u­larly low sales vol­ume, he said. “The way the econ­omy is now, and other obli­ga­tions, we’re not go­ing to be able to con­tinue.”

The store, which sells a range of pre-kinder­garten through ninth grade level sup­ple­men­tal ed­u­ca­tional ma­te­ri­als and sup­plies such as dec­o­rat­ing ma­te­ri­als, fur­ni­ture and mats, will dis­count its ma­te­ri­als through the hol­i­day un­til the end of Jan­uary to clear its in­ven­tory but will con­tinue tak­ing or­ders from the New­ton County School Sys­tem, said Hamby.

When the cou­ple first opened the store, there was noth­ing quite like it lo­cally, and teach­ers, churches and par­ents had to travel to find a store with the ma­te­ri­als they would need for a class­room.

“We just felt like there was a need for it in this area,” Hamby said. “(De­bra) was get­ting closer to think­ing about re­tir­ing. We opened it up with the in­ten­tion of get­ting it es­tab­lished and she would re­tire.”

But af­ter in­jur­ing his leg in an ac­ci­dent, Hamby left his job at Her­cules to han­dle the day-to­day op­er­a­tions of the store while De­bra, an ed­u­ca­tor now for 36 years, re­mained with the school sys­tem.

The cou­ple cel­e­brates the hol­i­days qui­etly with fam­ily, said Hamby. They bring out the ce­ramic na­tiv­ity scene they bought when they were first mar­ried and as­sem­ble and dec­o­rate the 12-foot tree they bought 25 years ago, a three-day task usu­ally com­pleted right af­ter Thanks­giv­ing. This hol­i­day, they will do the same, even with the sad task com­ing up in Jan­uary.

“We want to thank all the long and ded­i­cated cus­tomers that have been with us for the last 13 years,” Hamby said. “We re­gret hav­ing to close, but it’s just in­evitable. We’ve got to do it.”

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

Teacher’s Tool­box owner Bobby Hamby stands with one of the pop­u­lar chil­dren’s books car­ried at his lo­cal store lo­cated on the Cov­ing­ton square.

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