Laurinburg native Larry Horne refuses to buy into the idea that “you can’t go home again.”
“Because I believe I have,” Horne said in front of his new antiques store during a recent ribbon cutting ceremony that drew public officials and dozens of locals.
Horne has opened the Town and Country Collection at 121 Fairley St. in Laurinburg.
Horne’s shop is the latest venture in what has been a wildly successful career during which he partnered with Anne Stokes, who shares a stake in the new antiques store.
Having worked as an interior designer for the likes of the King of Saudi Arabia (where Horne says the checks, while not blank, were pretty near to it), as well as former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Horne is well known in the design industry.
Yet even when outfitting royal residences, Horne keeps his hometown in mind. He refers art framing work to his new downtown neighbor Art by Design and buys linens from the Stevens textile plant that once employed workers in Scotland County.
And since 1999 Horne has acted as proprietor of the luxurious Laurinburg bed and breakfast known as the Thomas Wayne Manor along with his partner Ronald Phillips.
Horne, who now lives in Asheville, said he retired in April.
Laurinburg Mayor Tommy Parker is dubious about the so-called retirement. Parker said that Horne will oversee the antiques shop with the same passion and skill that he has brought to all of his previous ventures.
“He has a track record of doing nothing but good things,” Parker said. “And he could have opened this shop anywhere and that’s the truth.”
Parker and a number of local officials took turns praising Horne for his decision to invest in the local community.
Recognizing the risk involved during the present economic downturn, county commissioner Chairman Bob Davis told Horne that he “appreciates his faith” in the county.
“We need to work from within to grow our community. We can’t expect everything to happen from outside. And this is a fine example of that, considering the amount of dollars that have been invested here in this building,” Davis said. “Mr. Horne has shown a tremendous commitment to Laurinburg and Scotland County.”
Parker added that Horne’s decision to open up shop downtown adds something unique to a central business district on the comeback.
“This business adds a facet to our downtown that not many towns are going to have. I think it says a lot about our community when someone who has made his mark and has a special set of skills decides to come back and work in his hometown,” said Parker. “And even though I very indirectly compete against (Horne) I am very grateful he is here,” Parker added, referring to his own furniture business. “I will refer people to him who may need his services.”
Asked why he chose Laurinburg, Horne takes a long term view.
“I know that downtown needs revitalizing, and I hope that this is going to help. If one tries to do their best, and others pitch it can make a difference,” Horne said, hopeful that his shop will come to represent an early step in the development of an antique district in the city.
“It would be great if one day people could come here and have a mass of similar options,” Horne said.
The new shop is located in a storefront attached to the McNair Town and Country Hardware Store. That store is owned by Horne’s cousins Betty and James Pierce.
For those wondering what kind of items can be accumulated over 30 years of interior design at the highest level, the answer can be found in Horne’s shop. The offerings, spaced out on two floors, include furniture, fine art, posters, decoratives, China, clocks, and ceramics. Prices range from as little as $10 to as much as $3,000.
“I had a lot of things left from my work, from places I have lived and from show items I have bought,” said Horne, who will curate the shop’s collection as a “hobby” from now on.
The shop is open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m; and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The store can be reached at 276-2812.