Coosa Valley Milling moves forward

Published 3:29pm Monday, May 16, 2011

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

As the cause of the Coosa Valley Milling fire remains a mystery, Frank McEwen is looking nowhere but forward.

“A flame started it. I don’t know,” McEwen said when asked about the fire’s inception. “It came from a spark, and it’s beyond my control. We’re going forward.”

McEwen said that he plans to rebuild his store as soon as he can “jump through all the hoops.”

“The feed business is still going strong. People ask how they can help. I tell them to come buy and bring two friends,” McEwen said with a laugh.

Katie the cat, a feline friend who’s lived at the mill over 17 years, was caught in the fire.

“She was mature in 1994,” McEwen said. “She came with the building, and knew she’d go out with the building. I think she’s in cat heaven.”

Even with the destruction of his business, McEwen continues to count his blessings.

“I’m doing as well as possible under the circumstances,” he said. “We’re so much more fortunate than those people in the tornadoes. A tornado could’ve taken the whole town. We’re so much more fortunate than that.”

Wilsonville Mayor Rosemary Liveoak said the mill has existed longer than she’s been alive.

“The business has a long history of owners in Wilsonville, and it’s been there prior to my life,” Liveoak said. “From a cotton gin to a mill, it’s been there for Shelby County, not just Wilsonville.

“The milling is a huge part of the community. It’s sad enough all his stock was in the building,” she added. “The McEwens have a long history of supporting the community with their giving and their kindness. I’m glad he’s in recovery mode. We’ll just keep going in Wilsonville. We always have.”

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