Today we’d like to introduce you to James Smith.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My wife Megan and I have been interested in suburban sustainability for some time, growing a garden on the majority of our 1/3 acre and keeping chickens. We like the idea of knowing where our food comes from and doing our part to reduce the strain on commercial food production. Having both grown up in Smyrna, we were familiar with the old feed and seed store that had been around as long as anyone could remember. It was limping along and the owners were ready to retire. In February 2015, when we found out the business was for sale we just knew it was ripe for revitalizing. Our vision was, and still is, to build a store that mirrors community interests, supports sustainability and provides quality goods for good living.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The store needed a lot of maintenance when we took over. The prior owners had really shrunk the products that they carried (and therefore the customer base had shrunk as well). Most new families in the area had no idea the store even existed. Our first challenge was we had to work fast to learn products and suppliers and bring in new things. Another big challenge in our first year was working to fix up both inside and outside. We actually didn’t advertise until a full year after we took over because we wanted the inside of the store and product offerings to be in a place that we felt like new customers would like what they saw, would want to come back and tell their friends what a cool place was in Smyrna. The community was ready and excited about us revitalizing a local store that focused on pets and gardening. Our biggest limit was time – we were full of ideas and had a ton of community support and momentum behind us.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Neighbors Feed & Seed Supply Co. – what should we know?
The feed and seed store in Smyrna has been around for almost a century. People that have lived in Smyrna for a long time have known the store in a traditional feed and seed sense: vegetable plants, seeds, gardening supply, fertilizer, pet feed & care (dog, cat, chicken) and wild bird supply. We still specialize in these things but have updated our offerings to reflect current tastes. All of our plants and seeds are non-GMO and we also carry a large variety of organic seeds. We carry multiple options for chicken feed, and our most popular is soy-free organic. Our line of Victor dog food is small batch and intentionally not sold to big box stores, which allows for greater controls on production and the majority of the meat sources to be from the US and Canada. The Foxfarm fertilizer and soils we carry is a line of products known to gardeners around the country for its superior formulations and growing ability for all plants, and we are proud to carry the full product line almost in its entirety. What sets us apart is these unique product offerings that often can’t be found in big box stores. The owners and staff know, love and use the products we sell. If you live in Smyrna, you don’t have to go deal with a lot of traffic or a huge parking lot to get what you need for your pets and garden … in fact you can pull right up, hop in, and we’ll carry the heavy stuff to your car for you. We are proud to have recognized the need for a local source for gardening and pets and took a leap in buying the store in 2015. We are even more proud of the community and how they have embraced our vision. Within families all around us, people are wanting to reconnect with their roots through gardening and sustainability and we love being the starting point for so many healthy lessons and conversations.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
We couldn’t do what we do without advocates all over the community. Our networks are full of cheerleaders that extend from our own grade school friends to current friends that we’ve met at our daughter’s preschool. Customers that supported us during the transition from the old owners to new customers have shared our praises all over town. We have a wonderful network of small business owners in Smyrna from Love Street, Atkins Park, Rev Coffee and Nutrition King, our families and friends have been incredibly supportive with childcare while we work, or helping out at the store when we need a hand. Of course, gardening is something you learn over a lifetime, and our dear customers and friends that have truly spent a lifetime gardening have become some of our favorite mentors.
- Address: 1565 Roswell St. SE
Smyrna GA 30080
1 mile from the market village in historic Williams Park
- Website: www.neighborsfeedandseed.com
- Phone: 678-653-8838
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: neighbors1565
- Facebook: facebook.com/neighborsfeedandseed
Kristofer Lamey (Personal Photo)
Leslie Kerr Rich (Store Photography)