Back in the summer of 2016, Nathan & I took the leap of faith that was Wineinger’s Country Feed & Supply. The ENTIRE process from the previous owner approaching us 'til now almost 3 years later, has been COMPLETELY covered by God’s grace.
Our feed store is located in picturesque Small Town MIDWEST America where football IS fall & we have 1 flashing red light in the center of town…our store is on one of those corners of that light.
The Big “W” Wineinger Family was approached with the purchase of this store because the previous owner knew that it would take a large family to run it. ALSO, we had animals to feed. Nathan had coached his son in football, we had a running cattle farm, and he bought my chicken feed there from time to time, so that may be what sparked the idea.
I can still remember the sit-down we had with the WHOLE family & him in the office of the feed store. He was VERY honest & transparent with the business. Leaving that meeting, I could FEEL Nathan’s wheels turning. I was working as the Athletic Secretary at a high school & Nathan was working for the family farm & landscaping biz. We knew that the Big “W” Wineingers were already FULL with landscaping, snow removal, water hauling, house contracting; as a whole, it couldn’t be added… But what if Nathan & Lindsay did it?
"THAT FEELING" is HARD to describe, but that PEACEFUL assurance you get when you know God’s handling the risk of the situation... it was uncanny. And Nathan & I both felt it EVERY TIME we talked about it. So, we did it. Being young & new, there really wasn’t a bank willing to give us a loan, so we reached out to friends & family and found investors (our BIGGEST cheerleaders both then & now!) to purchase the business.
I still remember the first week of work. I worked for about 3 weeks with the former owner. He would introduce me to the customers as they came in & then show me how to work the computer system, invoicing, anything & everything I thought I needed to know. The first customer that came when I was there, I will never forget, sat down, drank coffee with us & chatted about EVERYTHING for 2.5 hours. I was LOVING it already.
Nathan would come in around 3p and learn ordering & inventory. He’d mess around with the fork lift & learn about feed and what each did for different species. We LITERALLY started from scratch. THIS PICTURE:
…was the 1st day we owned the store. I went out and got a pair of cowboy boots so people would take me seriously. Ruthie & Tessa LOVED coming to the store and would climb on bags for HOURS! They’d create forts with the bedding while I did deposits or inventory.
I felt so terrible that the girls were there ALL THE TIME! I would apologize to people for them being there, when they got in the way, when a customer would have to move barbies & blocks to get to their feed… finally someone put me in my place… “You don’t have to apologize! Aren’t they why you bought this in the first place?!” Yes. Yes, you are absolutely right. I still apologize for their toys, but I STOPPED apologizing for them.
The Hardest Part-
For me, learning about the different species. CHICKENS! I know chickens… but to learn about hamsters all the way to cattle & horse. OOO and being pregnant at a feed store! That was pretty difficult. When you lift 50# bags for a living, weight restrictions are no good.
The EASIEST Part-
THE PEOPLE! The community we work with. The kids we support through their 4H and FFA projects & show season. The friendships we’ve made are immeasurable.
The cool stuff we do:
- We feed our local zoo. We order feed like Zebra Pellets, Banana Monkey Biscuits, Leaf Eater Diet, Wild Herbivore Diet… We got to go on a behind-the-scenes tour in January…AMAZING! (TOTALLY going to do a post on this!)
- Because of the open space in our building, we have an annual craft sale, and let others use the space for fundraisers, meeting, etc.
- About once a month, we have some kind of seminar where we bring in experts in a particular field for locals to learn & ask questions. Last month, it was Bee Keeping, this month it’s Pond Management & next month, it’s Homesteading 101! This is one of our favorite ways to meet people!
- We have 2 additional employees. That's so important to me...and I take the fact that we are helping support their families as well VERY SERIOUSLY!
For the future… we’re not really sure what God will do. I think as long as we commit the store to Him and stay humble, we will be right where God wants us. I’m proud to support the local people around me. I’m so excited that I get to raise my girls here. The feed store is our second home. So, when people come into it every day, I treat them that way & want them to feel as welcomed and cared for as I would someone entering my house.
So make sure to come visit! I’ll start the coffee pot.