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Riggs Wholesale Co. reopens in larger building
By Jill Bock
Special to Business Today
SIKESTON - It's been a tough few years for the Sikeston Riggs Wholesale Co. There was a devastating fire then an economic downturn.
Some companies might have just closed their doors. But Dolph Riggs will be the first to tell you his family's history goes back too far in Sikeston to walk away from customers who have come to depend on the home supply company.
Today, standing inside the new Riggs store at 931 Compress Road, Riggs said things are looking surprisingly good for the company, their employees and most importantly for their customers.
"After the fire we moved into a much smaller location and had to reduce our variety greatly. It is really surprising how well we have done but people kept saying they wanted their old Riggs back," he said.
Looking across the aisles, filling up with new merchandise, Riggs will tell you this isn't the old store, but a new, much improved Riggs.
The 22,500-square-foot building, formerly the OFM Co., is almost four times as large as the previous location, although Riggs notes it still isn't as large as their original store. The change has brought more merchandise, wider variety, spacious parking, greater efficiency and better access.
"It feels good to be here," said Riggs. "I know working in such cramped, close space was difficult for the staff and the customers."
Rick Wineman, director of merchandise and planning, said he was pleased from the moment he walked in the new building. "You could see the potential of what could be done. This is a good move."
According to Wineman, the move has brought many new products such as Eureka vacuum cleaners and the full line of accessories.
"There is a much better selection of bath vanities and mirrors," he said, adding Riggs now carries Aristocraft and Dakota Wheat brands of cabinets in stock along with unfinished cabinetry.
The larger store has enabled Riggs to add large tools, which hang from one wall. Also, the line of Atrium windows, carpeting and paneling. "And it is all under one roof and out of the weather," said Wineman with satisfaction.
Another first with the new store is the state-of-the-art checkouts. Gone are the days when clerks would hand-total customer bills. The electronic checkouts will increase accuracy and enable the store's 15 to 20 employees to keep better track of the inventory, said Riggs.
"Everything will continue to be one-on-one. Personal service is the backbone of our business," he said.
Part of that personal service includes assisting customers with loading merchandise into their vehicles, and the business will offer delivery, said John Southern. A long-time Riggs employee, Southern came out of retirement to assist with the new store's stocking and opening.
Obviously pleased with Southern's assistance, Riggs said long-time employees are typical of the company. He is just as quick to point to the future of the company, noting his son, David, general manager, began working at Riggs while in junior high school and now has 20-plus years experience. David Riggs is closely involved in the set-up of the Sikeston store, which will be managed by Mary Crone.
The store's history in Sikeston dates to 1946, when Riggs' grandfather and his partner began G&R Hardware here. The company's roots go even farther back with the first store opening some 145 years ago in Fredericktown.
Today there are six Riggs locations. In addition to the new Sikeston store, Riggs stores are located in Kennett and Poplar Bluff, Paragould and West Memphis, Ark., and Dyersburg, Tenn.
The Sikeston Riggs officially opened to the public April 5 with a grand reopening ceremony.
Jill Bock is editor of the Standard Democrat in Sikeston.