The Goldendale Home and Farm Store was looking like history. Mid-Columbia Producers (MCP) was closing up shop. But almost as soon as it did, along came Kirk Sidwell from Basin Feed & Supply, and the doors re-opened again.
Sidwell bought the store and got it going again with remarkable speed. "It happened pretty fast when [MCP] closed their doors," he says. "A friend of mine called me and told me what was going on. I came down and checked things out, and I said, 'This looks like a good opportunity. This is a great community, and this is a great opportunity for a feed store.' We're talking 30 years the store was open, and we came in that same day [it was set to close] and started then."
One of the first things Sidwell did was bring back Shirley Pence, who'd been with the store long enough to earn a strong regard from shoppers. Now the two are setting out to make the farm store great again, to borrow a phrase. "It'll take us a month to get things cleaned up and completely ready," Sidwell states.
This makes store number four for Basin Feed & Supply. It has stores in Moses Lake, Kennewick, Cheney, and now Goldendale.
So what changes can patrons expect to see? "We're going to have a lot more inventory, maybe a little different," Pence says. "And good customer service. The hours are different; they're going to be Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Okay. We'll see a better, wider inventory. And we're huge into animal health, so we'll do a lot of vaccines-cow vaccine, horse vaccine."
Highly knowledgeable employees is a big point for Sidwell and Pence. They were asked, say you're, oh, maybe a newspaper editor with next to zero knowledge of animal stuff, not to get too technical. You mean that person could come in and get help with anything he wanted to know about what they carry? You bet, they answered. "We should be able to help you," Pence said, referencing that purely metaphoric person. "You can come in and get good guidance."
The store will carry pretty much anything you can think of. "We're going to have small animal," Pence says, "equine, cattle fencing, water troughs, goats, pigs, live chicks in the spring." It's clear she could go on for a long time.
A lot of people in town are asking about prices under the new management. Sidwell says the store will be competitive with other area outlets.
Pence welcomes the change at the store. 'Kirk got ahold of me and asked me to come back," she says. "And I'm glad to be back."
Sidwell pauses a moment, trying to recall a slogan he once heard that he feels applies to his stores. "Oh, here it is," he says. "Animals make better people. We make better animals."