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September 01, 2003   Email to Friend 

Alfa Farmers Opens Online Country Store
Jeff Helms

Fern Smith, center, and McKee Group President Terry Southern, right, show Alfa Farmers President Jerry Newby how to shop for Alfa Farmers merchandise at the new online "Country Store" at www.alfafarmers.org.
Alabama Farmers Federation members can now purchase shirts, caps and other Alfa Farmers gear online thanks to a new partnership with the McKee Group Inc. of Pelham.

The Alfa Farmers "Country Store," is stocked with more than 20 logoed products including coffee mugs, umbrellas, luggage and promotional items. In addition, visitors to the "Country Store" can order the Federation's popular "Country Kitchen Cookbook" and the children's book, "Can a Rooster Drive a Tractor?"

Federation President Jerry Newby said the "Country Store" will provide a convenient and affordable way for county Federations and individuals to order Alfa Farmers merchandise.

"The Farmers Federation has done business with the McKee Group for several years, and they've always provided exceptional service and quality products," Newby said. "We will be adding items to the 'Country Store' periodically, so members should visit the site often to see what's new."

Visitors may link to the "Country Store" from the www.alfafarmers.org homepage. Once there, shoppers can use the drop-down menu in the upper right corner of the page to browse through four categories of products. Visitors must sign in to purchase items online using a credit card. Most products require a minimum order of six to 50 units.

Founded in 1977 by Johnnie McKee, the McKee Group is ranked in the top 10 percent of promotional products companies, based on total sales volume. The company's clients include Alabama Power Co., Colonial Bank, BellSouth Corp., the American Red Cross and Auburn University. They also are responsible for supplying souvenirs emblazoned with the presidential seal to Camp David.

A graduate of Athens College in Athens, Ala., McKee managed a grocery store before being hired as a sales representative for a north Alabama promotional products company. Less than a year after taking that job, the company filed for bankruptcy. McKee moved to Birmingham and started her own company--working as a waitress at night to pay vendors up front for the merchandise her clients ordered.

Twenty-six years later, McKee and her partners, Terry Southern and Debbie Noah, have offices and warehouses in four states. "We're not just selling coffee mugs and pens," McKee said. "We provide solutions to our clients' marketing and advertising needs."

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