Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

July 6, 2014

The business of community support

SOUTH SHORE — Brent Osborne and his wife purchased the country store in December that Jerry and Debbie Howard owned and operated for more than 30 years.

Osborne said he considers it, in a way, continuing a family tradition because his grandfather had owned and operated another store in the area years before.

And he knows firsthand what a boon country stores are to the communities they serve.

“Sometimes you just can’t make a 30-mile or more round trip to get what you need,” Osborne said. “A lot of people out here farm as well, and I intend to furnish as much stuff for them as I can.”

Osborne also farms, so he has personal knowledge of the inconvenience — and added expense — of having to stop in the middle of a job and perhaps lose several hours in travel time to purchase something as simple as bolts or wire when a piece of equipment breaks down and needs to be repaired.

“We’ve made some changes and added some things that people in the community need, but at the same time we have tried to keep as many of the things that people around here need on a regular basis,” Osborne said.

The store has been improved with more than the addition of necessary items and the various types of feed that is now available, however.

The cash registers have also been updated to newer models that include scanners to speed up the checkout process, and new items are regularly being added to their stock. The store’s dairy bar has been updated as well to an entirely new system, the Gotzza Pizza Brand of subs, wings, salads, and of course pizza.

Osborne said that this upgrade will help to insure freshness and taste from a company with a good reputation, while maintaining the freshly made (nothing is pre-packed or reheated) appeal that the community has come to expect.

Residents of the community have supported him from the beginning. His desire, he said, is to maintain the country store history of quality and service and to grow by returning that support in every way that he is able.

One of the residents that have only good things to say about the new owners is the previous owner, Deborah Howard.

“I think they are doing a fantastic job,” she said. “They really are filling a need in the community, and I think that they can only keep getting better.”

“I’m looking toward the future,” Osborne said. “This is a wonderful community and I want to be involved with this for years to come. The people in the community have been great to us through our setup, and we just want to keep providing them with the things that they need.

“This is something that, years down the road, I want to pass on to my kids.”


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