Big Spring Mill, Inc. closes its doors after 172 years of business

The family-owned business, widely known for its seasoned flour, will close its doors in August

ELLISTON, Va. – After serving its community for over a century, a family-owned business in Elliston is closing down, and 10 News has more information after an interview with Bob Long with Big Spring Mill, Inc.

Big Spring Mill, Inc., widely known for its seasoned flour, will close its doors for the last time in August, Bob Long with Big Spring Mill, Inc. said.

For 172 years, Bob said the mill has manufactured livestock feed, as well as baking flour, including “Virginia’s Best” self-rising flour, seasoned flour, biscuit mix, and corn meal.

The facility was initially built as a gristmill in 1850 by Joseph Pepper along the Roanoke River, according to Bob, but was purchased by his great grandfather, Fleetwood Long, in 1935, who was then joined by his son, Woodrow.

Years later, Bob said that Woodrow’s sons, Bill and David, took over the operation.

Then, in the fourth generation, Bob said he and Amy Long Ebel, along with Amy’s husband, Mark Ebel, have continued the milling tradition for several more decades, updating the facilities along the way.

Bob did not say why they were closing in his initial release, but 10 News followed up with him on Monday to learn more in an interview.

When 10 News asked him why the business is shutting down for good this time, Bob offered a heartfelt answer that we could all relate to.

“I want to spend more time with my family,” Bob said.

Bob added that Big Spring Mill is extending thanks to its employees for years of dedication and generations of customers for their loyalty in his initial statement, and spoke more about the business’ success during Monday’s interview.

“We’ve done very well and most of that is their fault,” Bob said, referring to his hard-working employees.

Like many of their customers, Bob would like for their business to continue, and he even said he’s spoken to some people about the business, but nothing has been set in stone quite yet.

“I would like for it to continue,” Bob said. “I know we have a unique product, and I’d like to think that what we have is provide a good product for a good value, and I hope we’ve always delivered it with a smile.”

From withstanding floods and fires to runaway train cars and the pandemic, maybe Big Spring Mill, Inc. can even withstand the closure, too.

About the Authors:

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.