EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSCo-op Members Vote To Keep Southern States Open
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Darrah Wilcox
Web Producer: Darrah Wilcox
Reported: Aug. 14, 2013 5:19 PM EDT
Updated: Aug. 14, 2013 10:37 PM EDT
Huntington , Cabell County , West Virginia
Southern States customer Mark Connelly showed up to a meeting about the future of the Huntington store Wednesday morning because he said he shops there several times a week for things for gardening and landscaping.
"They've been a great benefit to us through the years and we just can't afford to let another business leave our community," he said.
Financial woes recently prompted the corporate office to recommended closing this location.
"It's a sign of the times," regional manager Terry Sweat said. "Some of these things go away because of the location, where they are, or loss of encouragement from the community to come in. The farming goes away."
However, there are plenty of local farmers left willing to put up a fight. Margaret Reid is president of the Lawrence County Farm Bureau. She's a beef cattle farmer and beekeeper, and came out to rally support.
"We feel as farm bureau members, we should be supportive of anything that supports agriculture because it also helps many of our members," she said.
Reid said many co-op members not only buy their feed and farm supplies here, but also things for gardening and even decorating.
"They enjoy coming down here. They appreciate the help they get, and it's closer to them in the eastern half of the county," she said.
The good news is they can keep shopping here for now. Co-op members voted in favor of keeping the store open.
"Those folks are loyal, and they want to do business here and they love coming to Southern States," Sweat said.
Here's the bad news-- they have to fix the finances.
"The answer is, we've got to get more folks in here, and sell more stuff," Sweat said.
Plans for that will start immediately, with scheduled brainstorming sessions in the coming weeks.
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