Feeding animals can be tough work. Feeding the animals of the entire St. Croix Valley can be even more difficult. But that's what the new animal feed store River Feeds in New Richmond is trying to accomplish.
The store opened up over Memorial Day weekend, but has been in the mind of owner Pat McNamara and his wife, Terri, for a long time.
"He has always been very enchanted with the idea of a feed store," River Feeds Business Manager Emily Reed said. "He's wanted to open one for 20 years."
McNamara grew up in the area and his family had a small dairy farm. He said he always enjoyed going to the country store when he was younger and he also runs a boarding facility called Mullagh Farms.
"Having that experience caring for a large number of animals really highlighted the need that this area has. They need good customer service, quality products, availability and business hours for people that work outside of the farm," Reed said.
Employees have to wear a number of different hats for the roles that they play. McNamara owns River Feeds, while Reed runs the business side. Deanna Casarez and Tabitha Rupp are also part of the operation, one as a marketing intern and the latter as a Purina sales intern. All members have to keep an eye on the counter and customers.
"I design flyers and run the website and social media aspect of it. Basically any kind of designing we need to do," Casarez said.
"I work with outside sales, which is hitting the pavement and going to people's businesses. If I see animals, I pull in and identify any needs I can help them with, which helps get the business out there," Rupp added.
McNamara described the biggest challenge so far as making people aware that they're here. With any new business, building up a supportive customer base is important in the opening months of operation.
River Feeds supplies a variety of feed for horses, chickens and show animals, including pigs, cows, goats, sheep and even llamas. The story also stocks pet food, bird seed and wildlife mix-ins for deer.
"We would like to grow and become the foremost supplier of animal feed and forage. We also deliver and all of our products are made in the USA, with most locally in the Midwest," Reed said.
River Feeds looks to gain a strong consumer base in the St. Croix Valley, with customers as far away from New Richmond as Hudson and Stillwater a possibility for sales.
"Everybody that has come into the store has been so positive. It's been kind of fun to have that reception from local people," McNamara said.
This emphasis on a high-quality of product, service and delivery are what has the potential to make River Feeds an area destination for feed and forage.
River Feeds is located right off of Wisconsin Highway 65 before you enter New Richmond. You can see more of what the business has to offer at www.riverfeeds.com.