When I visited Farm-Way last week to chat with owner Carol Metayer, the small office where all the “business” happens that keeps the store rolling along was full of family. Carol’s father, Paul Gallerani was fielding phone calls, Carol’s daughter squeezed past me to get to her desk, and there are family photos dotting the walls and desks.
Carol and her husband Skip started Farm-Way in 1983 when they bought (with some seed capital from Carol’s father) the small farm supply store that was part of Oakes Brothers. Realizing that the store couldn’t support the family on just grain sales alone, the Metayer’s responded to customer suggestions and started adding things like rubber boots, outerwear, etc. Thirty-four years later the store is now a destination location with the apt motto, “Complete Outfitters for Man and Beast”. Metayer credit’s the store’s success to a focus on knowledgable customer service and quality products.
The story of Farm-Way’s slow and steady growth is a lesson in hard-work, persistence, vision, and community commitment. The original store purchase didn’t include any land, but today the Farm-Way complex sits on 18 acres, some of which included a brown-field. Carol relayed some of the hurdles and regulations that the family had to maneuver over the years, and it was not for the faint of heart. But, today the store is an anchor for the community by bringing tourists, creating jobs, and supporting area nonprofits, like Vital Communities.
In addition to running an amazing 51,000 square foot store with more than $4 million in inventory, the value this locally owned business brings to our community is truly impressive. Consider these few amazing facts about Farm-Way when you are deciding where to buy new boots or a bird-feeder, and support the locally owned businesses that strengthen our communities:
- Employs 42, mostly full-time, year-round staff.
- Emphasis on work-life balance – Closed Sundays (unheard of in the retail world since Sunday is the second busiest shopping day), and strong benefits including health insurance and 401K.
- 100% solar-powered
- Customers enjoy free home-made donuts and coffee on Saturday mornings and afternoon cookies and lemonade in the summer
- Donates proceeds from Father’s Day tent sale to support local nonprofit, Safeline
- Local First Alliance Sustaining member
And, look for a brand new Farm-Way Valley Quest in 2017, that will be one more reason to make a trip to Bradford and visit Farm-Way.