Animals truly are my passion. I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t have at least one critter. I’ve had dogs, cats, horses, a llama, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, fish, mice, turtles, frogs, and even a snake or 2. I also thoroughly enjoy feeding the birds, the squirrels, and the chipmunks. I really do love all creatures, great and small.
Have you ever heard someone from the country say that they need to go to the feed store? If you have, they are most likely referring to buying food or supplies for their animals.
I managed a ‘feed store’ for my dad for 18 years. When I first took over the store, it was primarily feed for larger, farm type animals along with dogs and cats. I gradually expanded the food department to include every other breathing, non human creature imaginable. I also started building the product and supplies end of the business. It was fun but it was also very challenging.
There really wasn’t such a thing as the internet or online shopping when I started running the store. I had distributors who delivered the food end of it but the product buying was often a challenge. Most of the buying that I did was either from a catalog or I would buy from the supplier direct. Our store was in a small county so buying direct meant a trip to the city. While in the city, I would go to other stores and do some price checking. I wanted to be sure that I was competitive. I actually bought some dog foods at a pet ‘Big Box’ store. Often these stores had better dog food prices then my regular distributors. They can buy in quantity thus they can keep their prices down. Buyer beware though. You may get your food cheaper but the ‘Big Boxes’ take you to the cleaners when you purchase their supplies. I often felt bad having a 100% mark-up on products. These popular stores have at least a 300% mark-up on most pet products. People seem to think that since the food is less expensive that everything else will be too. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. The whole thing was quite the learning experience.
A ‘Big Box’ grocery store came into our area and it was the beginning of the end for many small ‘mom and pop’ stores in our county. Society became convenience oriented. If folks could get their food AND their critters food in one place… they did. Loyalty became a thing of the past. Our business suffered and we eventually decided to close the doors. It was sad but the times were changing and we couldn’t compete with the one stop shopping mentality. Around that same time was the beginning of buying online for many people. Even if the box store would not have come in, I don’t think our business would have survived. People love to shop online and there is massive competition out there these days. If an online store wants to succeed they absolutely have to be competitive. We have choices now and there are resources out there enabling us to be totally informed. The old way of buying locally and buying whatever they have available is definitely history.
I really did come to the online shopping age kicking and screaming. I’ve since changed my tune. Were it not for online shopping, I may not have found the product that cured my Cocker Spaniel’s ear infection. I did go to physical stores but I never did find a product that worked. The internet prevented me from having to go to the vet. Don’t get me wrong here. Going to the vet is often necessary but there are times when we can treat whatever ails our pets ourselves. The information highway and online shopping is great for these times.