Changing times

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 11, 2002

Dallas Compress now a worldwide venture

By Sajit Abraham / Selma Times – Journal

Dallas Compress is more than 100 years old, a historic reminder of Selma’s past.

Passing from generation to generation, the business is still thriving and doing well, says company president Sonny Nelson.

Nelson said the company, which has the distinction of being the oldest continuing cotton warehouse in Alabama, has existed in Selma since the late 1860’s and early 1870’s. It is currently located on Jeff Davis Avenue.

Nelson, who became the company’s president in 1998, is no stranger to the company’s &uot;changing of the generations.&uot;

Nelson’s father, C.W. Nelson Sr., was company president for 40 years before the younger Nelson assumed the role.

The business has seen many changes over the years, not only in personnel, but in the cotton industry itself.

Sonny Nelson, 62, has lived in Selma since his early childhood years. He recalled the days when cotton was farmed on family farms, and the labor was done by hand rather than machine.

But times have changed.

Besides larger farms and an increased reliance on machinery, there have been other changes over the years, most notable of which is that the volume of cotton produced over the years has decreased considerably.

Still, Nelson said Dallas Compress continues to do as well, shipping cotton all over the United States and Canada, as well as overseas.

Stockholders of Dallas Compress held their annual meeting in September, honoring previous board chairmen Milton Johnson and Milton &uot;Buzz&uot; Wendland.

Farmer Ronnie Holladay, who is the present board chairman, said the company is looking at the possibility of storing items from other businesses.

Holladay, like Nelson, agreed that although times have changed, Dallas Compress continues to keep pace.