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Slowing Down

Jackson, McCoy retire, sell Milton discount tobacco store

They plan to still operating the produce stand next door

MILTON, Ky. (May 2017) – Kenny McCoy and Patty Jackson recently turned a page in their long history with Riverside Flowers and More at the foot of the Milton-Madison Bridge in Milton, Ky. The couple decided to retire so they could travel and spend more time with their grandchildren.
They sold their Riverside Produce store to Collette Enterprises of Seymour, Ind. The new owners have turned it into another one of their Smoker Friendly Discount Tobacco stores. McCoy and Jackson will continue to sell produce and flowers at the open air structure adjacent to the new Smoker Friendly Outlet.
“Kenny started across the street in 1982,” said Jackson. “He built the big store in 1992.”
Jackson looked for the imprint of their grandchildren’s hands in the concrete floor before saying, “He added the flower shop in 2001.”

Photo by John Sheckler

Patty Jackson and Kenny McCoy have retired from operating their Riverside Produce tobacco store but are still in the plant business next door.

The business operated as a produce shop first and later added tobacco and candy products. Jackson started working for McCoy in 1986, and they became a couple in 1995.
“Kenny was originally well known for selling phosphates and soda powders,” said Jackson. “That was before they became illegal to sell.”
McCoy and Jackson closed the sale to Colette Enterprises on Jan. 22 and wasted no time hitting the road to Florida.
“We thoroughly enjoyed visiting people and customers at the store. That is the part we are going to miss,” Jackson continued. “We won’t miss the business management headaches. Actually, we were just getting tired and old. We wanted to travel and enjoy our lives.”
The couple originally planned to keep the business a few more years until they talked to Darren Collette and decided the time was right to retire.
“I felt we have turned it over to some good people at Collette enterprises,” said McCoy. “They will be good for the community and do good for the people.”
It doesn’t take long to see the shop has a regular customer base. It is not a through road, so there are no drop-in customers. Cars pulling into the lot make a bee line for the parking spaces. The people driving the cars know exactly where they are going.
One lady walks in the covered area and a conversation about the weather quickly starts. Jackson explains the trouble this time of the year is that some flowers come from the greenhouse wet. Some will need watering, but others are already wet. She has a similar problem with the plastic walls. Some days, they are needed to keep the flowers warm, but other days can make the shop too hot.

Photo by John Sheckler

From left, Sharon Lankford and Jennifer Bryant organize the candy at the Smoker Friendly Tobacco Outlet store.

Jackson asks another woman if she can be of assistance.
The woman says, “I had my heart set on some pink geraniums.”
Jackson replies, “They will be here on Saturday.”
McCoy acknowledges help from his son, Justin, and grandchildren in the operation of the produce market.
“They always help when we need to unload the produce trucks,” he said.
Jackson adds, “The kids, plus anybody else we can grab of the street.”
“Justin also looks after things when we go to Florida.” McCoy added.
McCoy and Jackson spend as much time in Florida as possible.
The couple bought a small home in Lorida, Fla., 11 years go. They stay in Florida from January through the end of March and return to operate the produce stand in the spring.
“It is a town the size of Milton, near Sebring, in the center of the state,” said Jackson.
Retirement doesn’t mean the end of work for McCoy and Jackson.
“I am still doing a lot,” said McCoy.  “I have a campground, plus cattle, and there is hay to grow. I still have plenty to do.”
Jackson is content operating the produce stand in the spring.  “Not having the candy gives me a lot more free time,” she said.
Tobacco and candy customers will still be able to shop in Milton.
There are 28 Collette Enterprises Smoker Friendly stores in Kentucky and Indiana.
Some of the Riverside Produce staff will stay with Smoker Friendly Outlet, so customers can expect to see familiar faces. The new store owner plans to add more product offerings in the candy area.
“What helps us is the candy,” said store manager Sharon Lankford. “We sell stuff that is hard to find. Sale of candy is new to us. A lot of customers come just for the candy.”
Lankford transferred from the Smoker Friendly Outlet store in Owenton, Ky., at the end of January. Other staff members, like Jennifer Bryant, worked for McCoy and Jackson for six years.
“We will continue that service for the customers,” Lankford added. “The store will stay exactly as it was when McCoy had it.”
New products do stand out. There is an entire wall of roll-your-own tobacco, premium cigar and vape products.

“We buy the candy in 25 or 30 pound bags and repackage in smaller sizes,” Lankford added. “Jennifer knows all the customers. I am still learning. They come from everywhere.”

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