Now that our little farm store, The Spotted Wattle, is all out in the open as far as Big Brother goes I thought I'd tell some of you new followers about the reality of rural retail. (Yup, I was working on that all day) but first I want to remind you about Farmhouse Fridays on The Renegade Farmer. Its a great way to meet and great other bloggers of like minds, or unlike minds or the mindless...
Read all about it here http://www.therenegadefarmer.com/2011/10/renegade-farm-festival-fridays.html Now start blog hopping!
Some of this is a repeat I know, but we have to think of others sometimes don't we? Tomorrow I promise to be totally NEW and EXCITING.
So we conceived of the store over a year ago. I blogged about our dream to have one. Then the most marvelous thing happened. One of our regular customers offered to fund the store as an investment. WHAT?!, we were stunned and grateful. A simple contract was signed, we drew it up ourselves, then we went shopping. We found a building and had it delivered. We insulated and painted it. Now we are paying back our investors. Sometimes we pay them cash, sometimes we trade them milk or meat. Once they wanted me to dance in their garden fountain dressed as an Irish Faerie Princess. I had to draw the line at that one.
We liked our store so much we put things in it. Our things, other farmers things, but only things grown or made or designed by individuals. We also stock only produce, eggs, meat and other foods that are GMO, antibiotic and hormone free. No Walmart crud.
We put prices on the things we put in the store. Not easy to do. Must cover our costs and allow for some profit without being too greedy. We want return customers. So I snoop in other similar stores to check out their prices and comparison shop on the internet as well.
At first we had just 1-2 customers a week, then 1-2 a day and now we average 4-5 each day. We try to stock practical everyday items,
Like laundry soap and really good for your skin bar soap. But since man cannot live on soap alone (except for that one guy who buys like 10 bars at a time every couple of weeks. I'm real happy about the sales and all but I am a little concerned about what he is doing with all that soap. Probably just reselling it at some Chicago Spa for $15 a bar. Gotta love the American way.) we also put meat in the store.
In fact, just a few hours ago, Keith and I put 777 pounds of beef in the store. You know how you hate to put away groceries ? Yeah, imagine 777 pounds. It could've been worse. It could've been 666 pounds. And just so you don't worry. NONE of our meat is tested on animals. I'm pretty sure though that most of it is MADE from animals. Pretty sure.
A brand new item is hand embroidered book marks crafted by my talented sister-in-law Jeanne. They are so pretty and just $10 each (plus $2 S&H for 1-5 of them) Each one is unique but trouble is I am not sure which to keep for myself. I got this new Stephen King book I've been reading...
The inside of our store is simple.
The counter was bought at auction years ago by Keith's dad probably for less than $10. The little desk was left to me by Laura Ingalls Wilder. At least that is what I wrote in ink on the underside of it so it must be true. Because we are not in the store all day we have a self-serve program. Customers take what they need, add it up, write out a sales slip and leave us money.
They trust us and we trust them. The way we figure it, if somone takes a few chops without paying they must be really hungry. We'll make it up by charging that super soap buyer, a little extra.