This story was originally published by The Star-Herald in its 2017 special section
By Joseph Brown
Any business is bound to change and adapt with the times in this ever-changing world.
One local business that has shown it’s not afraid to change to bring in a different clientele is the Attala County Co-Op. The business that started as a group of farmers coming together to buy supplies at a discount has turned into a thriving farm supply and gift store.
“A group of farmers all got together and formed a buying co-op in 1937, it would become a part of a state organization soon and then eventually turned into the store you see today,” Co-op manager Sammy Smith said.
The business started out just selling feed, seed and fertilizer. However, as time progressed the farmers in the county started to disappear and those remaining gained the ability to buy their products direct.
“The farmers no longer bought from us in bulk,” Smith said. “So as time progressed we had to reach out to other markets for sources of revenue. It has just gradually built up to what it is today.”
In 2008 the co-op went over to the retail side with the addition of a clothing department and gift shop. They also offer a bridal registry.
“The bridal registry is still a new thing that we had people asking us for,” gift manager Julie Johnson said. “We are not what people think a normal co-op is. We have a lot of people from Louisiana out of town.”
“It has grown more than anything else in this store,” Smith added. “The dollar volume still comes from seed, feed and fertilizer, but the gift section has definitely brought in more customers that we wouldn’t generally have.”
Attala County Co-Op is a third generation business still operated within the family.