Tupelo family business closing after 115 Years


TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI)- It is the end of an era as a family owned business is closing its doors after 115 years.

For more than 60 years everyday Rob Leake has helped customers.

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He literally grew up in his family’s business, Leake and Goodlett Lumber Company. But after Saturday, Rob Leake will retire.

The business is closing its doors after 115 years.

“It’s been on our minds for a year or more, back in the fall of 2018, my father and I sat down and decided that’s what’s best for both of us going forward,” said Lindsey Leake.

Rob’s son Lindsey says the popularity of large home improvement chain stores , along with online shopping has made it tough for smaller, family owned businesses.

Lindsey says the time was right to close shop and start a new chapter in his family’s life.

“Tupelo is a wonderful place to live, still a great business climate, as retail changes, have to change with it and to face it head on and honestly is only way you can do it,” said Lindsey.

Through the years, Leake and Goodlett evolved, from a retail and lumber business in the early days, lumber and building supply business from the 1930s onward.

In fact, Leake and Goodlett was instrumental in helping rebuild Tupelo after the devastating and deadly tornado of 1936.

Norris “Piggy” Caldwell’s family home was remodeled by Leake and Goodlett after the tornado.

So when time came for him to build his home in the early 1950s, there was only one choice.

“My mother always said if you are going to have a birdhouse built, make sure Leake and Goodlett does it,” Caldwell said.

Caldwell remembers there was a slight hitch in his building plans, and budget, when the $12,500 price tag did not include a drive way, which would add$ 500  to the project.

He could barely make the $87 monthly payment but he received a phone call from Medford Leake.

“He said, I have a note for you in my drawer for $500 dollars, I ‘ve paid the other $500 dollars on the house, he did , but that’s just the kind of people they were, here I was in trouble, I couldn’t pay much more than the $87  a month, but Mr Leake knew that, and he did that for me,” said Caldwell.

For the last two days of business, the famous “Medford Metorite” is again on display outside Leake and Goodlett, it will be given to the Oren Dunn Museum for permanent display. And the three acres of prime real estate that has been home to the business will be available for future growth and development.

Leake and Goodlett supplied the materials Vernon Presley used to build the now famous birthplace of Elvis.