Hurley Adams stands outside his store, the Fabric Shop & Embroidery Unlimited on Main Street in Madison on Monday. Hurley and his wife, Judith, owned the shop for about 25 years before she died last year. Adams has kept the store going since then and remains a fixture on Main Street, as he regularly waits for customers outside the store in his distinctive kilt. (Staff photos
Hurley Adams stands outside his store, the Fabric Shop & Embroidery Unlimited on Main Street in Madison on Monday. Hurley and his wife, Judith, owned the shop for about 25 years before she died last year. Adams has kept the store going since then and remains a fixture on Main Street, as he regularly waits for customers outside the store in his distinctive kilt. (Staff photos
Not every shop along Madison's Main Street features a 78-year-old man standing in a traditional Scottish kilt. But Hurley Adams, the owner of Fabric Shop & Embroidery Unlimited, has a style all his own.

Adams has owned the business for nearly 25 years. He says the kilt draws in customers.

When he and his wife bought the store in 1989, it wasn't exactly what they were shopping for.

"We came in to buy another new sewing machine, and we bought the business instead," Adams said.

Adams and his wife, Judith Ann Bair, both learned to sew from an early age. He grew up on a farm in Trimble County and most of the clothing he and his family wore was made at home, by hand.

"My mother had me sewing all the time," he said. "By the time I was 5, I was doing a good bit of sewing."

It's something he and his wife tried to instill into their children.

For the first 24 years of ownership the couple worked together every day at the shop. They raised a family of four and ran their sewing and embroidery store.

"We could get along good 24/7," he said. "Don't matter where we were at or what we were doing."

Last year, Judith died, leaving Adams to run the store by himself for the first time in nearly a quarter of a century.

The day she died, Adams' family came to town to grieve and help plan the arrangements, but by late afternoon, Adams was left standing alone in the fabric store he ran with his wife.

It was Saturday, and for several years he and his wife had a standing date on Saturday nights. They would attend the Saturday evening service of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville.

"We figured that was a good place for us to go where we would not get in trouble," he said.

Adams decided to keep with tradition.

"I just went and changed my shirt and went out there. I just put a neck tie on, got in her Cadillac and went down there to church."

Adams also knew of a widow and widower group that met at the church on Saturday's after the church service. He didn't want to go home yet, so he decided to stay and talk with people in the group.

"I sat down there in their coffee shop and talked to various people until I started feeling kind of sleepy," he said.

Since then, he's joined two church groups. The widow and widowers group and a group for older church-going singles who are looking for a date.

Adams said he waited five months to join that group. Soon after joining, he got his first date.

"She was the youngest one of that group," he said.

Adams knows that's not the norm, and he knows the kinds of looks some people will give after finding out he waited five months to start dating other women. Many people his age, he said, are widows or widowers and they don't want to start dating someone new because they feel guilty.

"(That's) Crap. There's few, if any of them, that loved them more than I loved her. But I got to move on."

"I knew so many people over these 78 years that wouldn't date nobody. They go back to their house or apartment, they sit and look at the four walls and will be dead in six months to a year," Adams said. "I didn't want that. Just sitting there grieving."

Adams still goes out on Saturday night. He likes meeting people and going on dates. He still likes running his fabric store too, even though there are a lot of memories of his wife in the old shop.

Every day, Adams says, he just tries to keep living his life the way he wants.

" I just go on. I go on."