COVINGTON — When he was a little boy, Chris Smith took a wire spool, made himself a desk in the back of the store and as a junior businessman, learned the trade watching his father and grandfather.
“From the time I could walk, I remember being up here, especially on Saturdays hanging out on the counter, talking to customers, playing and doing what little boys do,” Smith said.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Newton Electric Supply Co. is in the hands of the man who literally grew up alongside it. As company president, Smith, a fifth generation Covington resident, oversees a business founded by his late grandfather in 1967.
“When he first started, Carl (Carl Smith Jr.) still had Covington Electric on the Square,” Smith said. “He was in the contracting business and decided a supply house was needed in Covington because he was having to drive to Atlanta for materials. He opened Newton Electric and had both stores — two different businesses at the same time.”
Born in 1912 in Covington, Carl Smith Jr., the son of the late Carl Smith Sr. and Minnie Mobley Smith, started a small appliance repair shop in the garage of his Floyd Street home. That dream grew into Covington Electric, which was a staple on the Square in Covington for 25 years.
With the help of his son Billy, Carl Smith founded Newton Electric in 1967, opening the…