Neeses, S.C., October 8, 2012 — After 44 years of equipping the weekend farmer, Fogle’s Farm Machinery in Neeses is closing.
“I am 66,” owner Coker Fogle said. “It is time. It was not an economical decision or due to the slowdown we have had. We are not closing because we’ve got to.”
Fogle, who has been married to his wife, Margaret Ann, for about 48 years, says he has some interests that he would like to devote more of his time to.
His three grandchildren, all under the age of 11, are the biggest interest.
“Since we are farm-related people, I want my grandchildren to know where food comes from and clothes,” Fogle said. “I take them around to chicken houses and the dairies. I like to show them how feeder combines work and cotton pickers.”
Fogle said he may still putter around with farm equipment in retirement, though on a part-time basis and on a much smaller scale.
After unsuccessfully looking for a buyer, Fogle said preliminary plans are to rent out the building on U.S. 321. He is uncertain who or what business may be in the building’s future.
Fogle’s Farm Machinery has been geared to the hunter, weekend farmers and gardeners and was a one-stop shop where equipment and attachments could be purchased.
Business has not always been easy, but serving a niche market has been a hallmark of Fogle’s.
The business has sold tractors, cotton pickers and combines and has provided parts and service work on farm equipment.
Fogle says the business was successful because of the personal touch, good employees, knowledge about the business and advertising. The business has sold products as far as Mexico City, Mexico.
“We have had a good run,” he said. “I don’t have any regrets. We were able to get our share of the market.”
Fogle has been working with farm equipment since 1968, when he and his father, Manning Fogle Sr., began repairing old tractors for resale.
The business had its beginnings on the family farm about a couple of miles from where the store is located.
“We pulled these old tractors out of the weeds, fixed them up, painted and would sell them,” Fogle said. “We would do that on the weekends when we had time.”
“Daddy had a big garden,” he said. “He would be out there with his tractor farming his garden and had people stop by asking him if they could buy it. He said he did not want to sell it.”
But Fogle said if the money was right, his daddy would sell the tractor and then purchase another one.
“It kind of grew in that respect,” he said.
Following the death of his father in 1978, Fogle continued the business on a part-time basis until about 1989.
Fogle’s was located at the family farm until about 1996 when it moved out to U.S. 321. The business had another location in Barnwell but consolidated the operation in 2000.
Fogle does not plan to leave Norway where he was born and raised, except to enjoy some retirement traveling time.
“I have moved eight times in my life and never moved out of Norway,” he said.
Fogle says he will miss some things about being in business.
“I will miss the people,” he said. “Our customers have a way of letting us know what is happening all around us. They have been companions to us.
“They come in and are able to share political views or whatever is on your mind. If a man’s got something on his mind other than this, we listened to that too.”
Fogle is having a closing auction starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, featuring trailers, tractors and other items.
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