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South States Cooperative to close 7 locations in North Georgia
Gainesville store to be shuttered in late July
Southern States Cooperative has announced it is closing seven retail locations in North Georgia, including its Gainesville store at 869 Grove St., by late July.

Southern States Cooperative’s Gainesville store is among seven retail locations in North Georgia that will close by late July, the cooperative has announced.

The move means that two full-time employees will lose their jobs at the Gainesville store, which is at 869 Grove St., near Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, said Steve Patterson, vice president of marketing and communications.

The store’s manager, Danny Guess, listed on the Southern States website as having 35 years of service, “will be retained in a different position,” Patterson said.

“Following the store closings ... Southern States products will be available in the region through wholesale distribution and an expanding network of independent dealers,” states a Monday press release from the company.

“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,” said Tom Scribner, Southern States president and CEO.

“Unfortunately, that strategy requires closing a small number of outlets in markets that are not as well positioned for future growth.”

The other stores are in Calhoun, Carrollton, Griffin, Madison, Washington and Winder.

The local stores are among a small number of locations closing across the cooperative’s 17-state region, representing less than 2 percent of total retail reach.

“We’re launching a new Agronomy Business Unit to take care of farmers from sourcing the products to application in the field,” Scribner said.

“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.”

Founded in 1923, Southern States is a farm supply and service cooperative that has approximately 200,000 members.

It has operated the Gainesville store since 1998, when Southern States acquired it from Gold Kist, Patterson said.

Gold Kist was a farmer-owned cooperative that later merged with Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.