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July 16, 2013

Southern States closing Cullman location

Farming supply shop to shut down next week

CULLMAN — The Southern States farm supply and service cooperative in Cullman will be shut down next Thursday, as part of a corporate restructuring that will see eight retail stores shuttered in Alabama.

The Southern States location on 13th Street SW in downtown, beside the Kensington Station apartment complex, has been a part of the Cullman farming community for at least a decade.

A message left at the Cullman location seeking comment was not returned.

Leah Bolin, president of the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce, said she was saddened to hear about the loss of jobs and a local business — especially in an area where farming is so deeply-rooted.

“Any time there is a loss of jobs in the Cullman area, it affects so many different people in so many ways. That’s something we hate to hear,” she said. “Especially in an agricultural community like Cullman, the farmers need to have places like this. Having a shop where everyone knows who you are and what you do when you walk in the door — that’s one of those things we’re losing when places like this close. We wish those associated with Southern States much success in their personal and professional lives.”

In addition to Cullman, the company is also closing stores in Athens, Centre, Danville, Geraldine, Headland, Henagar and Oneonta. Company officials say the affected stores account for only a “small number” of locations within its 17-state region.

To fill the void created by the closures, Southern States plans to offer some of their products through wholesale distributors and independent dealers.

“We’ve launched a significant new growth strategy that will focus on high potential agricultural markets for our future and the future of farmers who own Southern States,” Southern States president and CEO Tom Scribner said in a statement. “Unfortunately, that strategy requires closing a small number of outlets in markets that are not as well positioned for future growth ... We believe an intense focus on the producer will allow us to serve our customers better, and reallocating capital from closed stores will help fulfill that promise.”

Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at trentm@cullmantimes.com, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 134.

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