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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) – Nancy Gay Ritchie worked in downtown Pikeville long before innovation cut through the coal town.
“When we first opened this up, the train ran through down there,” Ritchie said. “The dishes on the wall, when the train would go through, they’d shake. You could hear them. ”
The businesswoman, originally from Hazard, came to Pike County with her husband more than six decades ago, opening a business and starting a family – watching both grow from the Second Street shop.
“The people that owned the home and office supply wanted to sell out, so my husband bought it,” she laughed. “I would say we’ve been in debt ever since. But, no, it’s been a good experience and we’ve done well. ”
Pushing with faith, even through floods, the shop has continued to serve the community and change its offerings as the city around it did the same.
“I’ve been here through all of that. Through the ’77 flood. Lost everything we had. Got up and started again, ”she said.
Now, marking the shop’s 60-year point, Ritchie is also celebrating her 95th birthday, with the front of her shop decorated in balloons and photos to celebrate her milestone.
“I don’t feel any different than I did when I was 50. I can’t tell a difference,” she said. “I’ve been in the hospital three times in my life and each time I came out with a baby. So, I don’t want to go back. ”
Ritchie said the community has always helped the family succeed, supporting the business over the years, and even with the dips in sales, she is glad to have them supporting the store.
“You know, it used to be that you couldn’t wait on them. I mean, you couldn’t get in here for them, ”she said. “But, things change.”
You can wish Ritchie a “Happy Birthday” by dropping this week. The store is located at 234 Second Street, next to Appcycled.
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