Produce stand rebuilt after fire

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

SOUTH POINT — Bill Lynd stands in front of his fruit and vegetable stand on County Road 1 like he’s done for nearly three decades. He waves at passers-by and talks smoothly to customers, trying to coax them into purchasing more tomatoes or cantaloupes than they came to buy.

His stand is modest, but holds a variety of items, including peppers, grapefruits and what could possibly be some of the largest onions in the county — appropriately called “colossal onions.”

Lynd also has sweet corn that he says he “could eat without his (false) teeth in,” though they might get a little bruised

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The stand is something Lynd lives for. Each day, the 78-year-old says he looks forward to “coming out to the stand, meeting new friends and keeping busy.”

He brags that the produce business is in his blood. His father and uncle both raised and sold fruits and vegetables. Lynd himself has had few non-produce-related jobs in his lifetime. Before opening his stand, he drove a truck for a variety of produce companies and sold produce out of his pick-up truck.

Just last year, Lynd didn’t know if he would be able to continue his family’s tradition of peddling produce. A fire caused by a wood-burning stove destroyed his stand. The stove was left on while Lynd went to deliver apple cider to a customer in Ashland, Ky.

The fire forced Lynd to make a decision: Quit the business or rebuild. He said he had no choice but to keep going.

“I knew that I had to keep the stand. It’s the only way I make money and it’s better than being alone,” Lynd said.

He said he is by no means making a lot of money but he does “make enough for gas for his car and maybe a taco every once in a while.”

Most of the customers are wonderful people, Lynd said, except for what he calls the “occasional dud” that drive into his small gravel parking lot and spin their wheels.

Nearly every day, Lynd’s friend Glenn Dolin stops by to help customers and share some friendly conversation. He’s known Lynd for years, he said, and considers him to be a good guy with a kind heart.

“He deserves all the help he can get,” Dolin said.

Lynd’s stand is open almost daily. Hours vary, but he said he would stay outside until midnight if he could, just for companionship. He said his wife of 53 years doesn’t enjoy the produce business as much as he does and rarely works with him.

“It’s just like you or anybody else. When you get up in the morning and somebody smiles at you, it just makes you feel good,” he said. “I guess that’s why I keep doing it, for the friends and the company.”