Economy claims two more Tupelo businesses

n But, another retailer bucks the trend and chooses to build a new location.
By Carlie Kollath
Daily Journal
TUPELO – Tuesday brought mixed news to the community’s business scene.
One business confirmed its closing, another appears to be closed and yet another is moving to a location where it hopes to grow.
Electronics and appliance retailer Rex kicked off the bad news by confirming that it will close its Tupelo store. Walter Partlow, Rex’s regional vice president, said Rex’s corporate offices decided to shut down its 110-store retail division and gravitate toward its ethanol business.
The 22-year-old store on North Gloster Street has three employees and will close by March 22.
In another closing, customers turning to Carlock Kia found signs Tuesday posted on the dealership’s doors at 716 North Gloster saying it was closed and directing customers to Carlock Toyota and Carlock Nissan in Tupelo.
A call to owner Clay Carlock was not returned, but a service department employee at Carlock Toyota said the dealership was able to service Kia vehicles.
“However, warranty work on Kias will have to be done at a Kia dealership,” the person said. The closest Kia dealership still open is Gossett Kia in Memphis. The Kia dealership in Columbus also is closed.
But it was not all bad news.
Reynolds Hardware and Reynolds Bolt amp& Screw is shrugging off the recession and looking to grow. Owner Joe Bell confirmed that he bought a two-acre site on South Green Street, where his company is building a new location. He plans to move his operations there at the end of the month and open at 273 South Green St. on April 1.
The move comes after a fire ripped through the business in October 2007. Firefighters saved the retail space, but the warehouse had to be torn down.
With the new property, Bell said he is scaling back his square footage from 20,000 to 13,000, but will have better parking and more merchandise categories, including pipe and foundation supplies.
He said the Day-Brite Group bought his current location at 972 South Green St. and is looking into a possible expansion. Officials from Day-Brite were unavailable for comment Tuesday.
In addition, Bell said he hopes to attract other heavy commercial and wholesale businesses to locate next to him on the remaining property in the historic Mill Village district.
Partlow also has hope that the Rex store might be converted into an Appliance Direct location. He said some of the other stores in the state have been sold to the Florida-based company and will switch over soon. It’s unclear whether Tupelo will be on the list, Partlow said.
The closings are part of a trend as national chains flounder and look for other options in the tough economy. Circuit City and Goody’s are two big retailers that recently closed in Tupelo.
The automobile industry also is facing difficult times. Auto sales are down and the National Automobile Dealers Association expected 700 dealers to close nationally last year because of the economy and the credit crunch. At least two dealers already have gone out of business in Northeast Mississippi: Varsity Suzuki off South Gloster and Northside Ford in Baldwyn.
Daily Journal Business Editor Dennis Seid contributed to this report. Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@djournal.com.

Carlie Kollath