One of Elizabeth City’s oldest family-owned businesses will be closing next month after more than 75 years of serving customers across the Albemarle.
Perry Glass Co. is closing in mid-January, president Ricky Perry announced last week.
Perry, who has worked for the company for 51 years, said he is ready to retire.
“It’s a matter of I’ve just done it long enough. I’m ready to slow down,” Perry said, noting his brother, Donnie, retired from the business last year.
Ricky Perry also said his wife has multiple sclerosis, and he needs to have more time to help her.
“I need to be with her,” he said. “I need to spend more time helping her.”
Perry said he used to fish a lot. He hopes to be able to spend a little more time doing that now.
Perry said he tried to find a buyer for the company, which is located on West Broad Street, the past couple of years but no one seemed to want to leave the larger cities.
“I would have liked to have seen it sell,” he said. “The Albemarle area is certainly going to miss our services.”
The people he has dealt with, both customers and employees, have made the work enjoyable, he said.
“What I have enjoyed most is all the wonderful customers that we have had,” Perry said. “I have seen generations come and go.”
Robley E. Perry Sr., Ricky and Donnie Perry’s father, opened what was then Perry Paint and Supply on Water Street in 1944. That original building has been torn down but the company later moved across the street to the old McDowell Building.
“I’ve been involved since I was 12 years old,” Ricky Perry said, explaining he started out sweeping, cleaning and lifting before learning glass cutting, fabrication and installation skills.
In 1975 Perry attended Pitt Technical Institute in Greenville to study architectural drafting, which he noted was helpful in his work in the glass business. After earning his degree at Pitt he returned to Elizabeth and became vice president of the company. A few years later he became the company’s president.
Perry Paint and Supply later moved to a site on Ehringhaus Street, where it stayed for 35 years before moving to its current site on West Broad Street 16 years ago.
The move from Ehringhaus Street to the current site followed flooding during Hurricanes Floyd and Isabel.
“That’s why we moved from Ehringhaus to be here — higher ground,” Perry said.
Perry said he appreciates the good work done by the company’s employees.
“I have had a real top line of employees and I’m real proud of the work that they’ve done over the years,” Perry said. “I just want to thank them for everything that they have done for this company.”
At its peak the company employed 52 people. Most employees have already left, as the company has already discontinued its outside services work.
Perry Glass has done a lot of work on major projects. One of its higher-profile projects was the Museum of The Albemarle building on Water Street.
The company also has done work at schools, colleges, universities and Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City.
Because the company was based in a small town it had to do everything, Perry explained. Perry Glass specializes in auto glass, flat glass, tabletops, storefronts, and custom-picture framing.
“We were a full-service glass company — everything but eyeglasses,” Perry quipped.
Perry Glass served all of the Albemarle and the Outer Banks.
“We have tried to stay in North Carolina,” Perry said.
From 1992 until it closed a couple of years ago the company had a location in Kill Devil Hills.
Perry noted a new company recently formed in Elizabeth City called Albemarle Glass.
“We wish them the best,” he said.