Southern States coop changes won’t affect Garrison’s

Published 1:42 pm Friday, July 19, 2013

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Though Southern States Cooperative recently announced a new business model that includes the closing or consolidation of several stores, local Southern States affiliate Garrison Farm & Home Center will not be negatively affected by the changes.

Rick Green with Garrison, a locally owned and operated store, said employees have taken many phone calls from concerned customers.

“This does not affect the independent dealers such as Garrison’s,” Green wrote in a Facebook post, which he said served as an official statement on the matter. “We at Garrison’s are stronger than ever and will continue to provide you with the best service and high quality Southern States products to which you are accustomed. Southern States has re-emphasized their commitment to helping us do that.”

The changes with Southern States would not affect the merchandise that Garrison’s offers its customers,” Green said.

Southern States Cooperative President and CEO Tom Scribner explained the corporate changes in a press release.

“For years, Southern States has been organized around wholesale and retail business units. To ensure we create great customer experiences, we are aligning our infrastructure and associates to meet the evolving needs of our farmer producers and rural lifestyle customers.

“As we celebrate our 90th anniversary, we are recommitting our efforts to provide farmers with the latest in technology and support. True to our mission of helping people grow things, it is our belief that an intense focus on the producer will allow us to meet and exceed our customer’s needs. The agricultural industry is changing rapidly and we plan to be at the forefront of those improvements. Our board of directors has approved investments in new equipment, personnel and facilities to better serve our farmer producers in key markets.”

The number of stores to be closed is less than 2 percent of the total number of Southern States operations, according to the release.

Customers will begin to see these changes in mid-July and throughout the fall, according to the release.

Founded in 1923, Southern States is a farm supply and service cooperative that has about 200,000 members. One of the nation’s largest cooperatives, Southern States provides a wide range of farm inputs, including fertilizer, seed, feed, livestock and pet feed, as well as other items for the farm and home. The Cooperative serves its members and non-member customers through 1,200 retail outlets in 17 states.