Feed store- does anyone own/operate?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by nans31, Jan 4, 2006.

  1. nans31

    nans31 Well-Known Member

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    I'm considering opening a small feed store. I get so frustrated with the cost of feed going up constantly, I think maybe I should be in on the middle there somewhere! Does anyone here have any experience along this line?
     
  2. momof2

    momof2 Well-Known Member

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    My dad owned one for 20+ years and sold it because he wasn't making ANY money to speak of. He made most all of his own feed and still wasn't making anything. The guy who bought it branched out and started selling clothes, novelties and such and is doing OK but not great.
     

  3. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    a new small feed store just opened in a town (pop 10K) near us. i think they have a great deal invested in the new building they buildt? they are also selling clothes and other stuff too and their feed is about .75 cents more than the big guys for 50 pounds. I try to buy there cause i hate the brand the big guys sell but i also am not nuts about the store owner lol
     
  4. bill not in oh

    bill not in oh Well-Known Member

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    I don't have experience owning/running a feed store, but here's my contribution to what I believe is paramount to successfully operating one based on my experience as a consumer.

    #1 Location, location, location. Folks are beginning to factor in the price of fuel on trips everywhereand if you have a central convenient location it will help.

    #2 You don't have to have the lowest price (see above), but you have to out-service all competitors.

    #3 #1 becomes less important proportionately to an increase in #2

    I drive 22 miles to buy my chicken feed. I drive past (literally) a feed store that is 8 miles from my house to get there. Here are the reasons why:

    Personality - the folks I buy from always take time to chat with their customers and take an interest in them.

    Service - I can get feeds custom mixed in as small as 500 lb quantities. I choose to buy their own layer feed because I like the formula - AND THEY ARE NEVER OUT OF IT! They will deliver feed to me for a nominal (how's $5 sound?) charge. This only becomes important to me when I have feeder pigs and am buying 12-1500 lbs at a time to feed the pigs, goats and chickens - I never take advantage of their willingness to provide this service unless the quantity I need justifies it. Their pig feed is also an excellent formula, price competitive for a single bag and they discount based on my commitment to buy 600 lbs per pig, AND THEY ALWAYS HAVE IT! They will seek out suppliers of feed that they do not carry if a customer asks for a particular brand. My wife has angora rabbits and feeds them a particular feed - they made arrangements to start stocking that feed even though they had to go to a distributor that they don't normally deal with AND THEY ALWAYS HAVE IT! They sell egg cartons at about one and one-half cents over their cost of acquisition, as a service to their layer feed customers - it works for them and for me. They sell bedding plants in the spring. Last spring I (jokingly) mentioned that I thought they should have Scotch Bonnet peppers to offer - a couple of days later one of the owners called me and apologized for not being able to get them for this season, but assured me that she had found a source and had already placed the order for next year.

    I could go on about the importance of service to me, but I suspect that you get the picture.

    All of that said - back to #1. Their store is located in a small rural ag-based community in the middle of small-rural-ag-based-communityville without a feed store in at least 14 miles (the one I drive past -THAT IS OFTEN OUT OF WHAT I NEED - to get to them); so their location is prime for a feed store. They could probably survive without the excellent customer relations and service, but they excel because of it...

    Other than that, a lot of floor space, heavy duty racking(shelving) to store the feed, a big pile of cash to get started, a commitment to a 60-70 hour work week and a bunch of excellent mousers to control the rodents and you're on your way...
     
  5. ladycat

    ladycat Chicken Mafioso Staff Member

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    A feed store has an extremely low profit margin. You'd be lucky to make enough just to pay the overhead. Mine did well only because I specialized in rare chickens (rare at that time), and exotic birds, and I was close to a metropolitan area with a lot of rich gentlemen farmers and hobbyists. People drove long distances to buy birds from me. I got very good at buying low and selling high. But if you are in a rural area, you probably wouldn't be able to do something like that.

    To save on feed costs, try this: look for feed mills in driving distance of you, and find out if they sell cheaper by the pallet. Very many of them do. Also, many of them will sell broken or misprinted bags at a deep discount. That could be a good solution for you.
     
  6. The best feed store I ever purchased from makes their own mixes. They would have truck loads of grain delivered to their mill and then would mix their own. You could pull up and buy it by the pickup load or have a commercial truck deliver it to your own silo. As well as stop and buy it by the sack full. Unfortunatly I no longer work in that town that is 25 miles away so I now just buy from my local feed store. Which I don't mind as we should be supportive of our neighbors. If we/you owned a business we would want them to support us too. Right?
     
  7. nans31

    nans31 Well-Known Member

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    Bill-- I HEAR YOU! I avoid places because of the attitudes of the employees. And, one of my biggest peeves is when the feed store doesn't have what I ordered in. It's not a big deal to them.It's a HUGE deal to me! I live in a very rural area, the nearest towns with feed stores are 45 mins and 1 hr away. I'm thinking very small and personal. I raise rabbits, it's one of the highest feeds out there.... I wonder how much they raise prices... 100% maybe? Momof2-- what kind of mark up did your dad have to do?
     
  8. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    Bill, who are you passing up and where are you going?
     
  9. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    I've got a friend that owns a feed store. It is a family deal, his father who is retired with a pension works there and probably owns half, his wife who works a regular factory job for benefits works too. He runs the store but also farms the family farm for a living. They live very simple, work all the time, and probably are not making much from the store even with all of the family labor. I know he has trouble getting feeds because of them not wanting to deliver smaller quantities.