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Clayton’s marks 120 years with year-long celebration

Story courtesy of Staff Writer Katelyn Lawson at The News located in Tullahoma, TN


Clayton’s Shoe Store is putting 120 years of heart, soul and history into their year-long 120th celebration.


Every last Wednesday of each month in 2020, owner Florence Hull and her staff will be hosting a celebration all day long, complete with refreshments and a plethora of giveaways.


Hull displayed more family heirlooms to add to the already heavily decorated walls and shelves of Clayton’s, including a penny-farthing still decorated in red and green streamers from when it was ridden by Hull’s uncle John Harton Jr. during the town Christmas parade way back.


The front display window has been decorated with antique boots, high heels and saddle shoes that were all sold at the store over the past century. The window also showcases old photographs of Clayton’s throughout the years, a typewriter, antique cash register, cobbling tools and receipt books from the past 120 years of business.


The team at Clayton’s kicked off their first celebration of the year on Wednesday, Jan. 29, pulling out all of the stops in their matching T-shirts, serving cookies made by Cindy Ward-Marin, brownies, popcorn, cold drinks and giving away door prizes.


“Today has been a super success,” Hull said. “We have great customers.”


Hull had a “spin and win” wheel for customers to spin in order to win a prize. The prizes for the first celebration included leather mousepads, bracelets and inflatable balls for the kids, roses, reusable totes, makeup bags, umbrellas and pop sockets.


“The prizes will change every month,” Hull said. “We will have new surprises every time.”


Hull comes from a long line of family cobblers.


The company dates all the way back to 1882 when Hull’s great-great-grandfather James Clayton Sr. came over from England and became a cobber in Tullahoma. His son James “Zippy” Clayton was working for a shoe store right down the street and bought it in 1900, starting Clayton and Company. After Zippy, his daughter, Hull’s grandmother, actually owned the store but didn’t work there. A cousin named Clayton Hart worked there for his uncle for 65 years and retired at age 80, earning him a spot in a row of previous owners’ portraits, including Hull. In 1978, after her father Robert Goode Ratcliffe, Hull became the sole proprietor and has been running the shop ever since.


“Yesterday would have been my mother’s 99th birthday,” Hull said. “I believe that she and the rest of my family in heaven were all looking down on us. I am sure they are very proud.”


“Getting to do this job every day and celebrating my family’s heritage has been so much fun. I am very humbled and grateful for all of the support our customers continue to give us. It’s a good feeling,” Hull said.


For more information about Clayton’s Shoe Store, visit their Facebook page “Clayton’s Shoe Store,” their website www.claytonsshoes.com, follow them on Instagram at @claytonsshoe or call 455-2722.


Clayton’s is located at 108 W. Lincoln St.


Katelyn Lawson may be reached at klawson@tullahomanews.com.


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