Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Farm Store Follies
We opened it in November 2010 without much help from our local county officials. They could not understand the concept. Small building where we would sell farm raised products.
They wanted to know where the employee break room was. Well since it's just Keith and I and our hired hand Aaron who works about 6 hours a week, that "break room" was our kitchen table.
They wanted to know where the public bathrooms would be located.
In the same area of the house our bathrooms are located, right behind the kitchen just north of our "employee break room."
They wanted to know our "garbage disposal systems."
That would be the dumpster.
Their list of demands went on and on and finally an official person type came and LOOKED at out store, deemed it just fine and gave us our retail license. Oh grand...now we had to pay taxes on everything we sell. 1.25% on all meat sales and now 7.25% on all non-food items.
Considering all my non-food items come from small farmers all around us just trying to make a tiny living from their handcrafted goods this practice is infuriating. Each of them receives income from me when I buy their goods at wholesale which is not that much above their costs as their volume can never be high enough to really lower those wholesale prices much.
Then I mark those items up, somewhere between 10-25%. (Average retail store markup ranges from 50% to 200%.) Included in this markup are the costs of sales taxes we must pay. If I did not include sales tax in the purchase price each customer would have to calculate taxes since we do not man our store full time. It's enough that they calculate price per pound on the meat they pay and add up their own purchases, fill out sales slips and make their own change.
I'm not going to add sales tax calculations on top of that. We keep our markup reasonable because we want to reward our folks for driving the distance to our small farm. We want to make the time and gas worth the effort. Which is why we sell all our products now direct to the consumer from our farm. We do not do farmers markets or deliver to restaurants or grocery stores anymore. We finally realized who we wanted our customers to be.
We wanted common folks.
Not big chains or small wonderful restaurants who serve great food to thousands each year but we wanted to sell to those of you with faces and names and families.
It brings them to the farm where they can SEE and smell and hear animals being cared for by old fashioned methods...outside, can you imagine? And it keeps us home more, here on the farm doing the work we need to do each day.
This spring has been fun as we have more local vendors selling their items in our store than ever before. In addition to our meat and my soap we now have products from 8 other farmers/homesteaders and they are such fabulously fresh, handcrafted, homemade, items. Teas and salves and balms and jellies and books and flours and corn meal and tinctures and EGGS ooh my do we have eggs...plus just a few feet away you can get ice cold raw milk.
We are all about the Farm Store.
Open every day 10-6 EXCEPT closed on Sundays. Checks or cash only.
32796 E 750 N Rd Chatsworth, Illinois 815-419-5692