Local business owner turns to GoFundMe for cash infusion for struggling store

Editorial note: shortly after our story ran on-air, the GoFundMe page for Save Biggies Cafe & General Store was closed.

MARION COUNTY — A Centralia business owner is appealing to the public to help him rebuild his business, and has launched a GoFundMe page to raise money even as he continues to face felony drug charges in Marion County Court.

A person claiming to be Kelly Alexander, owner of Biggies Café & General Store says on a GoFundMe page that they have been in business approximately 8 years, but the last two years they have struggled to make ends meet since the loss of over 250,000.

Kelly Alexander (Courtesy MCSO)
Kelly Alexander
(Courtesy MCSO)

In May 2013, Alexander was arrested after 475 packages of synthetic cannabis were allegedly found in his store during execution of a search warrant.

He is also charged in connection with an earlier raid on his businesses in 2011, as well as with synthetic drugs allegedly found in a voluntary search of a truck trailer and former warehouse building in Centralia.

Alexander is charged with two Class X felonies for manufacture with the intent to deliver more than 200 grams of a controlled substance in connection with the December 2011 bust, one count Class 3 felony unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance for alleged residue of a synthetic drug found in a large mixing bowl located in the search the warehouse; and one count Class 2 felony distribution of a synthetic or misbranded drug.

Bail for Alexander was set at $250,000 and his wife – also named Kelly Alexander – posted $25,000 cash to secure his release.

While the court has denied Alexander’s requests to be allowed to attend Cardinal’s baseball games out of state, and denied his request to leave the country for a vacation in Tahiti, his request to take an Alaskan cruise was granted on the conditions he post 3 ½ acres of real estate on Highway 161 on the east side of Centralia as additional bond and sign a waiver of extradition.

That isn’t the only property Alexander owns in Marion County, however. According to online Marion County property records, Alexander owns multiple homes in Centralia of which the combined values in 2014 were approximately $100,000.

Business property online records show he owns on west McCord was valued in 2014 at $71,000, and property on Walnut Hill Road was valued in 2014 at $106,000.

Other properties he owns include one purchased in 2013 for more than $179,000, and two parcels on Highway 161, one valued at nearly $48,000, and another at nearly $500,000, according to marionil.mygisonline.com.

Following Alexander’s arrest, Marion County received $150,000 in forfeited assets from Biggies that was ordered from the court due to the synthetic drugs seized from his store.

In the online fundraising plea, Alexander is quoted as saying his business is in dire need of $50,000, and he fears that without the infusion of cash the business won’t last more than a few more weeks.

The plea claims the criminal evidence against him was seized illegally, and while he doesn’t deny the facts, he says did not sell to minors.

He also claims the case has remained in the court system for nearly three years because the prosecution has no case.

However, according to court records, the last four continuances filed in the case in 2015 were filed by the defense and not the prosecution. He is next due in court February 3, for a motion hearing.