Business re-coups after arson - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Business re-coups after arson

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August 12, 2003

Tifton- Boxes are still being unloaded at HBT Supply. Makeshift shelves hold only a few of the 35,000 items the store once stocked.

"When you have to order the kind of volume that we do you don't get that overnight," says Co-owner Chris Hammond.

He and his employees have been working day and night to turn a warehouse into a temporary location for the store, but his heart still aches when he walks down aisles and remembers his old store.

"When we saw the flames reaching 200 feet tall that night it was total shock, dismay, and disgust," he remembers.

But Hammond's resolve to re-open was as tough as nails.

"We have spent 28 of our years building this business up and being a supplier for the farm industrial community and we just can't turn our back on that and just give that up," Hammond adds.

He says he can't even imagine having an enemy, but is glad he has many friends. Friends who are also loyal customers.

"I hated to see it. Hopefully, everything will go back and they'll get back to normal fast," says Mark Evans, a loyal HBT Supply customer.

Until then he'll make the best of the situation and continue to do what he's always done, do the best job he can to serve his customers. A ten thousand dollar reward is being offered for information about the fire.

Posted at 5:35 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com