Our View: Bad news, good news

By John Charles Robbins

August 31, 2013

Just like the individuals who make up the fabric of any community, the collective community ought to stop and count its blessings from time to time.

Occasionally, a milestone event forces an individual to take stock of his life. Same with a community.

We had some really bad news here recently in Rockingham, being told we’d have to say goodbye forever to a long-trusted friend.

And as we picked ourselves up off the ground and dusted ourselves off, wouldn’t you know it, our bad news was softened by a bit a really good news. And it all transpired over a short two-week period.

It played out as a typical Good News & Bad News scenario, with the order reversed.

First up: The Bad News.

The first week in August we learned that a cornerstone of Rockingham’s historic downtown was about to be retail history.

Ken Goodman, 66, owner of R.W. Goodman Co., announced that he is retiring and will be closing the Goodman store for good. Goodman, an elected representative of the NC General Assembly, said he plans to retire so he can devote more time to public service. While that is a noble calling, it’s unfortunate it comes at the demise of an iconic block of the downtown area.

“I don’t have any children that are there to take over the business,” Goodman explained. “Retail is hard … For everything there is a season.” Goodman said he decided to do it while he’s still healthy and viable.

At the corner of Lee Street and Franklin Street, across from the old Richmond County Courthouse, there has been a retail store in that location for 90 years. Goodman has had his store in the family for 72 years. Lately the store focused on the sale of furniture and appliances.

“My dad taught me, he said we were there to serve the public, and that’s what we did. And the people we have dealt with have been a pleasure. The people are just great. That’s the one thing I will miss; the interactions with the people that come in the store,” said Goodman.

It was the kind of personal, caring customer service that one rarely finds in today’s stores and shops.

We say farewell, good friend, to the Goodman store.

Just about one week later, the community got its Good News: CSX announced major plans to add to its terminal facility in Hamlet.

The transportation company intends to invest about $8 million in a new, 45,000-square-foot facility used to design and build railroad turnouts, as well as a 3,000-square-foot section of new office space, both to be located on its Sheppard Road property.

And the frosting on this economic cake is: Approximately 15 new jobs will be created for this development, the company said.

“We are very excited about this expansion in Richmond County,” said CSX’s John Dillard. “We look forward to continuing our long-standing relationship with the community.”

Good news indeed … time to count our blessings.