Store Owner: "I'm gonna miss the people that come in here" - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Store Owner: "I'm gonna miss the people that come in here"

RINGGOLD, CATOOSA COUNTY (WRCB) -- Carlock's Value Plus Foods has been a staple in Ringgold for more than six decades. But soon the mom and pop store on Boynton Drive will only be a memory.

"I'm gonna miss the people that come in here," owner, Gary Carlock tells Channel 3. "I've been here all my life. It's basically like losing a member of my family with this place closing."

Gary's parents took their first inventory on Christmas Day in 1945. It's a true mom and pop grocery store. A true dying breed forced out by mega stores with low prices, a dying breed that Ringgold is going to miss.

"These little stores are going by the wayside," customer, James Brock says. "It's a part of American history that we aren't going to be able to re-create any time soon because of all these chains."

Gary never wanted anyone to go without food. He understood the struggles of his shoppers, and at times would lend out store credit.

But 66 years after opening, it's the Carlock's that have to end their struggles by closing the doors for good.

However, Gary isn't closing one door without opening another. Instead of letting the devastating news bring Gary and his wife down, he says it's bittersweet.

"I've come to the conclusion that life will go on, and it may even be better than it was in the past," he says.

Gary says he's getting by because of his faith in God, and his wife of 25 years, who he'll finally get to spend more time with.

He says he's not the only one struggling in today's economy and he won't be the last.

So he offers a little advice.

"Be strong about it, be joyful because that will bring out the strength in you to face the situation you're in," Gary says. "If you look at things and have a faith, you will be carried through."

The building is for sale or lease, and they plan to close by February 25.

Gary has applied for a position at the Catoosa County 911 Center. He's also a part-time firefighter, and first responder.

In fact, he once saved his sister's life inside the store by administering CPR.

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