The Mill Spring Farm Store: A community-motivated businessPublished 10:11am Monday, September 30, 2013
“I have always envisioned a Vermont country shop theme that offered fresh produce and unique items,” said McClendon.
With a base infrastructure in place, Harvey opened for business Sept. 2. The leased space is clearly visible from the front of the building and is armed with large refrigerators, freezer units, shelving space and produce bins.
Harvey said filling those bins with attractive products remains the ongoing business challenge.
“I currently have about 85 vendors with about 40 of them active at the present time,” said Harvey.
Farmers, craftsmen, bakers and local condiment suppliers place their items throughout the store for sale. Harvey offers vendors a deal. If they volunteer just four hours a month, a portion of their shelving fee is reduced from 35 to 20 percent. Vendors also benefit from the opportunity to have face-to-face interaction with the customers.
When adequately stocked, the community can expect to find everything from grass fed lamb, rabbit and goat to free range eggs and organic dried fruit available.
“I want our farmers to make their money from the products they sell, while I make mine on volume,” said Harvey. “I didn’t do this to get rich. I’m community motivated rather than profit driven.”
To date, the Mill Spring Farm Store is growing organically with a website planned for a later date. Harvey said she’d like to keep things simple for now, having customers drop in and browse the isles rather than a computer screen. Harvey looks forward to future growth and the opportunity to provide bulk items like nuts, snack mixes, fruits and granola.
The Mill Spring Farm Store is located on the first floor of the Mill Spring Agricultural Center. The store is open Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more information, call 828-894-8028.