Southern States joins company network

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By Walt Reichert

Members of the local Southern States Cooperative have voted to be acquired by and become part of the larger regional Southern States Cooperative. The co-op had been owned and operated locally.

The change took effect July 1.

"It's a chance to deal better with the competition," said Southern States board chair Ray Tucker. "It's an opportunity for Shelbyville to become a better store."

Tucker said Southern States eventually hopes to move from its 7th Street location and build a bigger store, which it can now do since it belongs to the larger network. Tucker said the bulk fertilizer business would likely remain at the 7th Street location.

"The board feels good about this decision and believes it is necessary to ensure the viability and long-term presence of a farmer-owned cooperative in our community," Tucker said.

Southern States Cooperative, headquartered in Richmond, Va., is a farm supply and service cooperative that has more than 300,000 members. The local coop has used Southern States systems so customers are likely to see little change.

One change, however, is that the local store has a new manager: Curtis Gregory.

Gregory is a transferee from Southern States' Stanford, Ky. store. He has been with Southern States for three years.