Family business of 60+ years closes, owner wins mayoral race - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Family business of 60+ years closes, owner wins mayoral race

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After having to shut down the family furniture store of more than 60 years, Larry Stansell is now running the whole town. Trion's new mayor is someone everybody there already knows. A victory margin of just 22 votes is giving Stansell something to smile about again.

Larry Stansell was born and raised in Trion and he's well known in the Lafayette area as well. That's because for the last 40 years, he's run Stansell's Furniture in both towns. But, as the economy worsened and furniture sales dropped, he made the tough decision to close. Wednesday, though, he woke up with a new sense of purpose-- to run his hometown as the new mayor.

"Wow, I'm mayor now," Larry Stansell said.

Trion Mayor-Elect Larry Stansell says the race results are still sinking in as he goes around town, removing his campaign signs Wednesday. Up until now, he's been known in Trion and neighboring Lafayette less for his politics, and more for his furniture. But it all changed this month, as he closed the doors for good at his two store locations and made the run for mayor.   

"One door closes and another one always opens. As sad as it was to close my own business I'm fortunate that I have a challenge before me to keep me busy," Stansell said.

He talked to Channel 3 back in August when he made the tough decision to close the business he spent his whole life in. His dad opened it in 1948, the year Larry was born. Then, he bought it in 1972.

"Now that I've closed the furniture store and had plenty of time on my hands, I thought that I'd really like to be mayor and I'd like to be part of a solution to some problems," Stansell said.

He thinks the skills he developed running the family business have prepared him for this new role.

"I think I have leadership skills that I've developed over those 40 years and I'm looking forward to putting them to use," Stansell said.

He says he knows just about every person in the town of just under 2,000, and plans to work with them moving forward.

"I see politicians that forget that their money comes from people who are hurting economically," Stansell said.

He's already making a to-do list for when he takes over the mayor's seat in January. Toward the top, is making Trion look a little better.  

"I was so excited about the prospects of being able to accomplish something that I had very little sleep," Stansell said.

Trion's current mayor, Johnny Ingle, did not run for re-election. Stansell was up against Trion basketball coach and city councilman Lanny Thomas.

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