Three Ways To Expand Your Feed Store's Customer Base
Feed stores are necessary in a farming community, and owning and operating one can be a viable way to make money. However, many feed stores are not able to turn much of a profit by selling feed alone. Instead, they end up expanding their inventory into another direction, which allows them to increase their customer base and make more sales.
If you own a feed store and are barely scraping by, adding a second specialty to your shop should help. Here are some ways to consider expanding your customer base.
Tires and Auto Parts
Most farmers who come into your store to buy feed also have trucks, tractors, combines, and other farming equipment that they need to maintain. Many of them likely repair their equipment themselves whenever possible, as this saves them money. By expanding your feed store to offer both auto parts and feed, you attract the many customers who need to buy both. You also start attracting farmers who only tend field crops and may not have previously thought of stopping by because they don't have livestock to feed.
Auto parts is an expansive category, so it can be a hard one to break into. Consider starting slowly; just stock tires at first. Purchase a few orders of tires in bulk, from businesses such as City Limit Tire & Service, and advertise heavily in your local area to ensure potential customers know you now sell tires. Make sure you buy tires for trailers and farm equipment, not just for cars and trucks. Once the tires start moving quickly, you can start adding other products to your inventory, like motor oils, spark plugs, brake pads, and air filters.
Does your area have a vibrant horse industry? If you sell a lot of horse feed, then consider expanding your inventory to include other products the equestrians, horse breeders, and trainers in your area may need. Caring for and showing horses requires a lot of equipment, and many equestrians end up mail ordering the things they need because they can't find them locally. Running a small tack store in conjunction with your feed store will make life easier for these equestrians, so they'll soon become your loyal customers.
You can start by stocking just the basics that horse owners need for their stables: pitch forks, much buckets, lead lines, halters, and water buckets. Over time, add more specialized equipment, like bridles, riding helmets, and riding boots. If you don't personally know a lot about the horse industry and what items are in demand, ask your customers. When someone buys horse feed from you, ask what other horse products they'd like to see you offer. Slowly build your inventory over time based on their answers.
Farming and landscaping often go hand-in-hand. In rural areas, a lot of farmers run landscaping businesses on the side. Plus, even farmers need to keep up their own yards, so being able to purchase landscaping items and feed in the same store will be very convenient.
Once again, the key here is to start off simple. Stock grass seed, weed killers, and basic tools like shovels and rakes. When summer comes, consider putting up an outdoor tent and selling some pre-started annual flowers and vegetable plants. Stick to the top-sellers at first until customers learn you sell plants and start coming in more often. Over time, adding a selection of sapling trees to your inventory is a good way to make a profit, since the profit margin on trees tends to be quite high. Lawn mowers, large packs of fertilizer, and leaf blowers also sell well!
Running a feed store can be a profitable endeavor, but often, you must sell more than just feed. Expanding to also carry auto parts and tires, equestrian gear, or landscaping items is a great way to increase your profits.