A feed store is a key business in many communities. Not only do they serve the rural farming community, but they also support pet owners within local urban environments. Knowing how to start a feed store means that first you’ll need to recognize what the local population demographics are going to need. After all, if you have a region that is dedicated to dairy farming, stocking an entire store of pig feed doesn’t make much sense.
The process of starting a feed store is rather simple in most areas. Because it is essentially a retail store, you’ll just need to secure the licenses that will allow you to sell wholesale items for retail prices. There may be some other specific tasks you’ll need to accomplish, so be sure to follow each of these steps to create a solid foundation for your business.
1. Secure Your Commercial Licenses
To distribute feed, some jurisdictions will require you to have a commercial animal feed license. This is typically issued by the agricultural department in your area. Even if you just plan on selling domestic pet feed, you will need this type of license. This is because you are selling food products, even if people aren’t supposed to be the ones eating the feed. You may also need to have a general dealer license to distribute certain brands or types of feed.
2. Find Your Facilities
Having an inventory of feed requires some extensive storage space. You’ll need to secure enough warehouse space that will help you store the extra supplies and products that you’ll be bringing in to sell. Many feed stores offer complimentary products that farmers and homeowners need to support their animals as well, so make sure there is enough retail space available for shoppers to stop by for a visit. Consider having seasonal products, such as hunting gear, to compliment your feed store as well.
3. Get Zoned
Your feed store will need to be located within a commercial zone. Look for a place to rent or purchase that is already zone for the feed store you want to create. If you need to change the zoning requirements, then you’ll need to approach the local government to apply for the change. There is no guarantee that changes will be made, so only look at commercial locations that aren’t appropriately zoned if there are no other options available.
4. Begin Your Distribution Chain
To sell feed, you’ll need to have suppliers and distributors who can bring the products to your commercial location. You will want to ask for quotes in writing for the feed supplies that you’ll want to sell. Purchasing items in bulk will generally increase your margins, but that also creates the chance of having inventory losses that could put your business at risk. Find a good balance between supply and demand, sign contracts that will work with your business structure, and then begin to secure the capital you’ll need to get started.
5. Find Your Customers
Without customers, your feed store will never become the success that you’re likely envisioning right now. To get your brand out to your customers, you’ll need to find ways to bring people to you. Each community has different methods of communication that are effective, so considered newspaper advertising, radio, television, or secure locations at farmer’s markets and trade shows to get your brand recognized.
Retail sales can also be boosted by sales that make sense. Having a grand opening with initial discounts can help you get to know your local customer base. Create a consistent experience, provide a personalized service that is friendly and engaging, and people will want to come your way for the shopping experience.
6. Consider the Co-op
Cooperative agreements are an effective way to begin a feed store. Local farmers and customers may invest a small amount in your business to have access to the better prices that a feed store can provide to them. There are specific regulations that may be in place for co-ops, so think about the pros and cons of this type of structure before finalizing the arrangements of your feed store.
Knowing how to start a feed store may seem basic at first since it follows retail principles, but the setup and structure of the store can be difficult to create in certain areas. Secure the licenses and permits you need and then follow the rest of these steps to create a successful business opportunity.
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