FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
COOTER’S IN THE COUNTRY TO CLOSE AT THE END OF OCTOBER
Ben Jones and Alma Viator, the proprietors of the popular “Cooter’s” franchises have announced the closing of its store and restaurant in Sperryville, Virginia. “At the end of October,” said Jones, “we will say ‘goodbye’ to ‘Cooter’s in the Country’ and that will be a very sad occasion for us.”
“We are not closing because of a lack of business,” he said. “In fact, we are closing because our strong success has created problems with some here who are very much opposed to our operation. We feel that life is just too short to deal with what what we think has been constant and petty harassment.”
Jones and Viator will continue to operate their extremely popular stores and museums in Gatlinburg and Nashville, Tennessee. “These great tourist destinations have welcomed our franchise with open arms,” he added. “We also have interest in opening a ‘Cooter’s’ in Panama City, Florida in the near future. We are all about ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ and the ‘Dukes’ are a permanent part of Americana.”
Jones and Viator opened their first “Cooter’s” store and museum in Sperryville in 1999 and have seen it grow into a business that has an international following. “When we opened our new store here in May of last year, we never imagined that there would be opposition, but there is and we have become exasperated dealing with a small but influential minority of people who are making it as difficult as possible for us to bring tourists to Rappahannock County. Our parking is now being threatened by a zoning issue, and without parking we will be out of business anyway,” Jones said.
“Since we re-opened here in May of 2015, we have had a wonderful time,” says Viator. “We are so proud of what we have done here. We have met countless new friends, some of whom have come from as far away as Europe just to see us. This is a tough decision for us, but we have no desire to deal with what we feel are unreasonable constraints. A lot of people have worked very, very hard to make this a first-class and happy attraction. We love our employees, our customers, and everyone who has worked tirelessly to make this happen. It is a shame to close, but it is also a business reality.”
Jones said that the store would stay open through the final weekend of October and will host a farewell party on those days. He also said that the closure of the store will not affect plans for a large event next year on a farm in Rappahannock County. That festival, called “Hazzard Homecoming”, will be at Ben Venue Farm on July 29th and 30th of 2017.