Employees hope to save Working Person's Store
LAKEVILLE, Ind. — A Michiana store may soon shut its doors, but employees believe they have a solution to keep the doors open.
For more than 20 years, Working Person’s Store has helped men and women, who work in fields like construction and manufacturing, find the right foot and work wear for their jobs.
However, money problems and changes in the retail business are threatening the business. A group of employees believe in the company so much though, they’ve decided to buy it.
Harry Craft is one of more than 40 employees at Working Person’s Store in Lakeville. While he works in business development, Craft also helps out at the company’s retail store.
“Making sure that we’re on track here, getting people fitted properly,” said Craft.
He fits the hardworking men and women of Michiana, who work in fields like construction and manufacturing, with the proper foot and workwear for their jobs. The company has done so since a1995.
“It’s like a family here,” said Craft. “We all love and support and know each other.”
But the close-knit store may soon close down.
“We’ve been hit with some struggles,” said Terrie Phillips.
Phillips said money problems and changes in retail are to blame.
“We had our major investor pull out of our company,” said Phillips. “We’re battling our own manufacturers. They’re changing the rules.”
Additionally the company’s bank backed out. Phillips also says higher shipping costs and having to pay for product up front are factors too.
“We are in a unique area in the country,” said Phillips. “As we have a lot of manufacturing but we also have a lot of construction, we have a lot of farmers, we’ve got huge variety of different kinds of working people and I’m not sure if they’re going to find something that’s going to be able to fit all of their needs.”
But the employees are changing the rules too.
“We’re going to raise money and buy a portion of the company,” said Phillips.
“By doing the buyout it will give us an opportunity to do things right with our vendors and start moving things forward,” said Craft.
They’re working to raise $1 million by September 7. It's a lofty goal, but they have the passion.
“I come from a working family,” said Phillips. “My dad worked in construction and my mom has worked in a factory. Making sure they’re in the right attire is really important to me. We all have the same, ‘look this what we want,’ where we wanted to go and we have this same goal and our one and only goal is to serve the customers of this area.”
They've set up a GoFundMe to help cover the costs. You can donate here.