LETCHER COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — The owner of Isom IGA, Gwendolyn Christon, is working to clean her store. The morning after the rains and floods hit, she and her husband headed to work.
"So, when we got to Highway 15, I just said you take me to the store and I’ll try and get the store open and he was going to check on one of our employees,” says Christon.
The store was flooded with 6 feet of water. Christon has owned this store since April 1998. She had worked for the previous store owners since 1973. She says over the years this store has become her home.
She says, “Then my work family is my family so, I leave my home spending time with family to come to work and spend time with my family here."
This IGA owner says she’s spent 50 years of her life at the store some working at it and some owning it and now she's doing everything that she can to rebuild for this community.
Christon shares, "You think of it as a store but it's actually a gathering place for everyone, this is where friends meet friends, they come here not only to buy groceries but to socialize and spend time together."
This IGA’s store owner in Isom, tells me that this store is the heart of this community — with the next closest store being 12 miles away. Now, this family owned store is working to rebuild its legacy in this community. pic.twitter.com/pPQcMa6KVa— Rachel Richardson (@RaRichardsonTV) August 2, 2022
This IGA is the closest store in the community for 12 miles. Christon shares that it was more than just a store – but the heart of this community. Now, says that clean-up and repairs will take some time. "The health department has already been here and condemned the whole store so it has to be completely emptied and sanitized before we can even start to think about putting the store back."
After so many years in this community, Christon says she and her family plan to continue this store's legacy. She shares that everyone has shown their support.
"Everyone has come through to tell me that they would do anything that they can to help me. We've got friends and neighbors around the place who’ve been cooking, bringing food in to feed all the workers that have been here working trying to clean the store up and they just take care of you. We take care of each other,” says Christon.
The Isom's IGA is hometown proud.