If you drive by 4159 Lafayette Street, you will see two American flags flying. In fact, Edwin Usery’s business shirt and card display an American flag. Usery is an example of an American who has worked to provide for his family, while giving back to the community.
While attending Chipola College, Usery wanted to be a coach, but as with many college students, he needed a job. He started working at a Sears store located near Watson Drugs in 1964. He continued with the company and moved to a location near where CenturyLink is now. Later, he moved again with Sears to the location across from the Russ House. In the early 1990s, Usery purchased a Sears franchise located in the Oak Station shopping center and co-managed the store with his daughter, Wendy Welch. Unfortunately, Sears discontinued all the catalog stores in 1993. Western Auto was owned by Sears. So, Usery purchased his current location and opened a Western Auto Store the same year. About 10-12 years later, Advanced Auto bought out Western Auto. Usery, now an experienced manager and sales person, changed the name of his business to Userys Associate Store LLC.
Usery is proud to sell appliances, lawn and garden equipment, and lawn mowers. If you stop by his store you can shop Whirlpool products like Maytag, KitchenAid and Estate brands of dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, refrigerators and freezers. He also has Bad Boy, Husqvarna and other lawn mower brands. He sells rakes, shovels, hoes and garden gloves. He is also known for carrying Polly’s Island hammocks, and he still sells gazebos. While he doesn’t sell bicycles anymore, accessories are still available.
“I enjoy helping people in the community,” stated Usery. “I love meeting people and keeping up with them,” he continued. “I find the people to be friendly and trusting,” he explained. “They call me and trust me to pick out a lawnmower or appliance and deliver it to them.” “I always give a fair price, good deal and good service after the sale,” Usery said. “I love the community,” he added with a smile.
Although Usery never became a coach, he has been able to coach students in business. Over the years, he has hired sophomores in high school and kept them working while they were attending Chipola College. Usery smiled as he recalled, “One has become a doctor, several have become lawyers and teachers, and one has gone on to be a police investigator.” He loves when his former student workers stop by to visit.
Shop locally, support Marianna businesses and visit Userys Associate Store Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 4159 Lafayette Street. Call 850-526-3210 if you have any questions or visit www.userysassociatestore.com. Visit the City of Marianna’s website at http://www.mariannafl.city/335/New-Businesses-and-Other-Community-News to learn more about new businesses.
Kay Dennis, MBA, MPA, A.I.C.P., is the director of Municipal Development for the City of Marianna.