Rankin County fruit stand controversy - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Rankin County fruit stand controversy

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RANKIN COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A family owned fruit stand in Rankin County may have to close. Owners say they will fight to keep their stand open on the property that was donated to them, even if it means going to court.

Pam Roberts says, "I'm trying to help the community and make an honest living."

PJ's Produce sits in the heart of the Robinhood community just outside of Brandon. Owner Pam Roberts says she has been selling fresh fruits and vegetables for more than a year and a half from her stand, but county officials want her gone.

"Rankin County Board of Supervisors and the Community Board of Planning are trying to shut me down. They came last year and started it and they are saying they've had numerous complaints and I'm not zoned to be on this land," says Roberts.

Roberts says before her business opened she went to the courthouse numerous times, taking the proper steps to open a business. She says the county only required her to have a sells tax permit, which she has. Roberts says she has been fighting this battle for more than a year, and her community is fighting with her.

Susan Speed says, "I just think it's crazy them trying to shut them down."

William Mills says, "There have been times where we came by and we couldn't afford nothing, but they cared that we needed something and they gave it to us so that we could pay it later. All these people are trying to do is make a living."

"They've got convenience of everything sometimes if I don't have money on me I can pay them later, they bring it to the car and I don't have to go all the way to town." says Speed

Roberts says even though the community wants her to stay, county officials continue to threaten her.

"They're supposed to show me in writing every time they come the complaints, the violation I'm in and how to fix it and help me fix it. I've never seen one piece of paperwork," says Roberts.

Roberts has a Tuesday July 23rd court date.

WLBT did reach out to Rankin County officials, but our calls were not returned.

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