The farming supply store marked its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting and dove-release ceremony Thursday morning. The Fairlawn store is the second Rural King to open in Virginia, following one that opened in Front Royal late last year.

Store manager Jeff Lawrence said the store has received a warm welcome from the community since its soft opening Feb. 18.

“The outpouring of support has been overwhelming, even from other retailers,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence said the store employs about 86 employees, two of whom had worked for Kmart before it left the Radford Shopping Plaza.

Wanda Melton, who is now an assistant manager at Rural King, had worked at the Fairlawn Kmart for 20 years when it closed.

“It’s brought back a lot of memories,” Melton said.

Melton said she’s happy to see the building ready for business again.

“It looked pretty rough before,” Melton said.

Though Lawrence said he doesn’t really have any experience with farming, he was attracted to the company for its openness and supportive environment.

“I listen to metal, not country, but I was immediately drawn in by the atmosphere,” Lawrence said.

“I listen to metal, not country, but I was immediately drawn in by the atmosphere,” Lawrence said.

He said he’s been learning a lot from the store’s associates, who he often hired specifically for the specialized knowledge they would bring to the store.

“For example, the guys I’ve got in the gun barn know everything there is to know about firearms,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence said he hopes people will ask if they cannot find an item they are looking for because he is committed to supplying the store with everything customers need.

The store is one of more than 90 Rural King locations across the country, and one of at least 10 that are expected to open this year, Lawrence said. It is located at 7456 Lee Highway in Fairlawn and is open from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. every day of the week.

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