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Hall County commissioner closing his business
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Another member of the Hall County Board of Commissioners faces financial difficulties as he closes his business.

Freshman Commissioner Jeff Stowe said he’s closing his rent-to-own store, Home Electronics, on July 15. He is the fourth commission member to face financial difficulty. Commissioner Scott Gibbs’ home was foreclosed on in 2011 after his business went into bankruptcy.

Commissioner Craig Lutz, who recently announced he will not run for another term as commissioner, had a personal bankruptcy in 2011.

BB&T of North Carolina filed a foreclosure notice on an office building owned by Commissioner Billy Powell in 2012.

Stowe said the recession and the bad economy caused the failure of the business on West End Avenue in Gainesville. He also included competition from another rent-to-own store.

“I’m on a side of town that is predominantly Hispanic,” Stowe said. “I think a lot of the construction workers lived in that area and were close by, so I think it’s just a lot of them have left town with as little construction that’s going on in town.”

Stowe said he isn’t being foreclosed on, but he was spending more than he was taking in, so he decided to close. A public records search for foreclosure and bankruptcy fillings produced no records.

Stowe owned the business for seven years, he said. He’s currently selling off his inventory.

Lutz and his wife, Shanon, filed for bankruptcy just weeks after he was elected South Hall commissioner, The Times reported in 2011. Court documents showed the couple compiled about $80,000 in credit card bills and owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in various loans.

The Times reported in 2010 that Gibbs’ house was in foreclosure and his business, J.D. Gibbs Grading, had filed for bankruptcy. He had run the business for about 20 years, he said.

Powell’s property at 329 Oak St. had been in wife Helen’s family for generations, The Times reported in September 2012.

Stowe said he doesn’t know what he will do after his business closes.

“At some point, you can’t work for free,” he said.

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