MARTINS FERRY - After doing business for three generations, Scheehle Produced has closed its doors in Martins Ferry.
Longtime businessman Robert T. Scheehle Jr. recently announced the closing of his family business. He thanked the community for its support and business. He attributes the success of the firm to his loyal customers, which include restaurants, grocery stores, schools and hospitals in Belmont, Jefferson, Ohio, Wetzel and Tyler counties.
''Everybody was real nice to deal with. We had a good rapport with everyone we dealt with,'' he said. ''We always tried to give them good service and good quality.''
Scheehle Produce was started in 1919 by his grandfather, Thomas Scheehle, who provided for his younger brothers and sisters by selling produce from a horse and buggy. Later on, he obtained a home with a large double car garage on Pearl Street, Martins Ferry, establishing his business on another site. In the early 1970s, the business was moved to its current location at First and Center streets.
Robert Scheehle started as a young boy, helping with deliveries and making trips to the Pittsburgh produce yards with his father. He is a graduate of Martins Ferry High School and West Liberty State College. He joined the U.S. Army in 1967 and served in the Vietnam war. Upon discharge, he worked for Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel as a regional credit manager. In 1980 he joined the family business.
Eventually, the business had to close its doors due to difficulty finding qualified drivers for the trucks.
''The oil and gas companies can pay wages I can't meet, plus benefits,'' Scheehle said, noting the business ran a fleet of four trucks and a rental. ''It was a hard decision to make.''
In addition, Scheehle, now 68, is looking forward to retirement.
''I never missed a day of work. I was always here,'' he said.
Scheehle said he and his wife, Cheryl, plan to spend more time with their grandchildren in St. Clairsville and Lewis Center, Ohio. He is in the process of selling the business site, which covers about an acre of land on First and Center streets. He is also selling three trucks, two GMCs and one International 2005.