Germantown produce business uprooting and shutting down Dec. 31 - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Germantown produce business uprooting and shutting down Dec. 31

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- You see and hear the ads all over saying "Buy local, buy fresh, buy organic," and some shoppers do that.

But that campaign is not enough for a Germantown business that’s now being forced to shut its doors.

Ron Smith never dreamed of owning a small business. His career path changed after he lost his pharmaceutical job in 2010.

"I went into business because I needed to work," Smith said.

Ron's passion for cooking led him to start the Root Cellar in Old Louisville in 2011. He eventually closed that location after opening another one in Germantown inside the old Hope Worsted Mills building.

"He sources some of the freshest, most local produce and meats and cheeses, and it's just a place that we've come to know and trust,” customer Bryon Shrock said.

"It's one of the few places that one can get healthy, organic local food," customer Lara Kelland said.

Customers seem to like the concept of locally grown, farm fresh food. In fact, more than 5,200 people follow the store on Facebook. But Smith says that online support only goes so far.

“It's very easy for people to sit at home on their computer and hit 'oh I like that', 'oh that's great,’ he said. “It's quite a different thing to have those 5,000 people actually visit the store and spend money."

Selling has become a challenge, possibly due to a lack of marketing or the building's location. Plus, failing equipment eats into potential profits.

"When a cooler breaks down, or a freezer breaks down, I'm unloading that and putting it in a walk-in," Smith said. "And it's out of sight ... if it's out of your sight, you don't buy it," Smith said.

Since he's no longer making money, Ron is shutting down on Dec. 31. He says he's more than willing to teach a new owner what he's learned, and that could save the company.

"If somebody has that sensibility, has that acumen in business and the money and the desire, the knowledge is transferable, the relationships are creatable."

It was never his dream to open, but that doesn't make shutting down any easier.

All the items in the store will either be sold back to the vendors or discounted for regular customers.

Ron says he's not ruling out that a potential buyer may still be out there.

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