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franklin county times

Wyckoff Seed's 84-year run coming to an end

By Staff
INCREDIBLE RIDE n Jewel Wyckoff, owner of Wyckoff Seed Co., ran the business for 29 years with her late husband, Bill. The store will close later this month after 84 years in business. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star.
By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
Feb. 21, 2001
Much like the seeds and seedlings which graced the gardens of thousands of customers, Wyckoff Seed Co. grew and thrived thanks to the tender care and hard work given by its owners.
But now, after 84 years in business, Wyckoff Seed Co. is preparing to close for good.
Owner Jewel Wyckoff, who ran the business for 29 years with her late husband, Bill, says the store can no longer compete with retail giants such as Wal-Mart, which can afford to sell seeds and plants much more cheaply.
Since Bill's death last year, Jewel Wyckoff decided to sell the property. The sale will be finalized on Feb. 28, when a Southern Sportsman store takes over the building.
Although the seed store may be preparing to close, Wyckoff admits it's been an incredible ride for a country store that started out as a dairy store in 1917, when it was opened by Bill's father. Once Bill Wyckoff returned home from World War II he transformed the dairy into a seed store after taking horticulture classes at Mississippi State University.
For the next 50 years the Wyckoff Seed Co. became synonymous with friendly service, a knowledgeable staff and most of all downtown Meridian.
Running a successful business for decades might have been draining for average people, but Wyckoff says the ability to carry on for so long was the result of a strong bond between her and her husband.
For years the store that sold seed, fertilizer and insecticide also served as a gathering place for friends of the couple and other residents who would often make time to stop and share coffee and information with the pair.
Jewel Wyckoff says she and her husband were well aware the seed store business was changing because new generations the so-called dot.comers" weren't gardeners.
For the past few months though Wyckoff has put aside her sadness at closing the fixture downtown in order to say good bye to the customers who supported the business for generations.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.