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Posted: April 29, 2009 12:30 a.m.

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A smiling face on the square

Photo by Gabriel Khouli/

Helpful: Kendra Mayfield manages Mayfield's on the square.

Kendra Mayfield is one of those people who enjoys doing "a little bit of everything," which is why she entered the retail business and began working at Mayfield Hardware Company in 1994.

Mayfield was originally born in Maryland but moved to Newton County to attend Oxford College and then Emory University. She originally expected to go into publishing, so she majored in English literature and economics. She discovered that publishing wasn't a great fit for her, but she didn't have another career path in mind at the time.

It might have been a twist of fate that led her to meet and eventually marry Lee Mayfield. Not only did she find a lifelong companion, but Lee's mother Patricia was also the owner of Mayfield Hardware on the square. While she was deciding what career she wanted to pursue next, Patricia offered her a temporary position.

"Patricia allowed me to come and work at the store as a stopgap situation, and it was just perfectly fitted to me," Mayfield said. "I found out I just love retail, and I've stayed ever since."

Lee had grown up in the business, and after majoring in psychology and trying a few other things, he eventually decided he wanted to return, Mayfield said.

"It's in his blood. He didn't find anything else that was as good as a fit for him as the store was," Mayfield said.

With the two of them working at together at the store, Mayfield found her true calling. She loves variety and doing something new every day and Mayfield Hardware itself and her position there fit her personality.

Mayfield said the store has hardware and lawn and garden equipment, a large gift department with china, crystal and flatware and a large housewares department with gourmet cooking utensils, decorative accessories, cookbooks and stationary.

"It's sort of a general store," she said.

And she's sort of a "general" manager.

"I buy for the gift department, do marketing and public relations, do financial stuff; I'm a clerk," she said. "Retail can be very rewarding; a lot of people don't realize how much is involved."

But Mayfield didn't just fall in love with the retail business - she also fell in love with Covington.

"It's an amazing community; it truly is. I didn't grow up here and didn't have any experience here and yet it truly became home to me," she said. "The people are so amazingly intelligent and thoughtful in a community kind of way. People are so actively involved in promoting and preserving the kind of community we have. People know each other and they care about each other. I thought I could never live in a small town, but it's the most wonderful thing. People show up with casseroles when you're sick; they know what's going on. It's a wonderful way of life and what I want my children to grow up in."

Mayfield loves that her two children, 11-year-old Max and 9-year-old Lily can ride their bikes around the square and know people everywhere they go. Her love of the community is why she works so hard to make it better.

She's on the vestry at her local church and the secretary of Parent-Teacher Organization at Ficquett Elementary; she works with MainStreet Covington, helps out the food pantry and is actively working with the parent-involvement theme schools set to open next academic year at Fairview Elementary and Clements Middle.

"I'm the kind of person that jumps in. If I see a need I try to make a change," she said. "I think this is a fantastic community. What makes it great are the people who are willing to roll up their sleeves and work towards making great things happen."

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