Herrin Business Pays Maytag Workers' Bills
By: Arnold Wyrick
HERRIN, IL --For a few customers at Bryan's Furniture Store in Herrin, Illinois it must have felt like a dream, when they were told their bills had been paid. The owners of the store decided to do something for the more than 50 years of support the Maytag workers had shown them.
"My father and I talked about it and we both decided it was good idea. We made a decision just to take all the balances of the store accounts, and just delete them off our books. It'll make it easier, and give these people a break," says Larry Fredman.
While Fredman won't say exactly what the total amount of debt was owed the stores, he will say it's not about the money.
"We've been doing business with some of these people parents, and grandparents. My father's been doing business here in Southern Illinois for over 50 years. And it'll come back to us. We just felt that we needed to do what ever we could to help the working class people in the region," Feldman said.
And Fredman points out the closing of the old Maytag plant in Herrin, is more then just a problem for his community.
"This is not just a Herrin thing. This is a Southern Illinois issue. And we know we're doing the right thing. The rest of the business community needs to do whatever they can to help these people out."
For some businesses like Shawnee Express it won't be as easy for them to figure out how they're going to make up their losses when the plant closes.
"We deliver washers and dryers to distribution centers and customers. And then we bring parts back for Maytag. So we have more then 18 drivers involved in that part of our business. It's going to hurt us around 31% of our overall business," says Gary Krutsinger.
One of the oldest grocery stores in Herrin sits right in the old factory's backyard. Thornton's Market has been a mainstay for the workers for the past 45 years.
" I'm here for the duration whether they work or whether they don't work. I can't leave and get another job. My jobs here we don't have the availability to move," says John Thornton.