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October 12, 2013

‘Met a lot of people, made lots of friends’

Local Walter community business closing after 51 years

WALTER — The Walter community’s one-stop-shop, known as a Cullman County mainstay and a place for talking politics over a cup of coffee, is closing its doors tonight after 51 years of business.

Roy and Wanda Henderson have seen blessed lives as store owners of Henderson’s General Merchandise. The business offered goods ranging from meat to clothing, household items to fertilizer, and feed to tools. Wanda said after opening, Henderson’s successful run was reinforced with an encouraging community.

“A lot of people have supported us all these years and we just really want to thank them for that,” Wanda said with tears in her eyes. “We’ve met a lot of people, made lots of friends who we’re going to miss seeing every day.”

The 75-year-olds have ventured through 55 years of marriage, raised three children in the tightknit community, and all while being the community’s focal point.

“This community has been good to us, course we’ve been good to them, too,” Roy said. “Well, Walter is the best place to live in Cullman County. It’s a great area to raise a family, we have a community center, fire department, about four churches in the area.”

The general store had an ice cream social event on Friday just after lunch to celebrate the 51 years of business, inviting area residents to come in and take part of what will soon be a little piece of history. Among those who came to say their good-byes was long-time friend Edwin Cell.

“When I first moved to the area, I was told I needed to come to the Henderson’s store, and it wasn’t easy to miss because they had hams hanging outside,” Cell said. “That was 50 years ago. Roy Henderson is such a great man who has done so much for the area. Everyone thinks the world of him. He and his wife are very modest, but so hard-working.”

The couple’s daughter-in-law, Denise Henderson, said Roy and Wanda lived the American dream as business owners and doing what most people hoped to do, create their own, homegrown income.

The Hendersons also elected to donate two acres of land off of their property to local groups, one being the Walter Volunteer Fire Department.

A previous employee and family friend, John Shaddrix, said he’s been coming to the store for many years as well.

“I worked for Roy 41 years ago here,” Shaddrix said. “They are two great people.”

Henderson’s General Store is located on County Road 781 in between Holly Pond and Hanceville in the Walter community.

Lauren Estes can be reached at laurene@cullmantimes.com or 256-734-2131, ext. 137.

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