KINBURN – Thirty-five years ago John Herrick got in to the feed and seed business, extending the legacy of Kinburn Farm Supplies’ 93-year run in business.
“I’ve enjoyed it, that’s for sure,” Herrick told West Carleton Online yesterday (Nov. 19) from his cluttered office tucked behind the counter of the store. “As we know, there are fewer and fewer farmers, but the farms are getting bigger and bigger. So, the market changes and you just have to keep up with the market.”
In 1983 there was no such thing as wood pellets. People didn’t use steel to roof their homes – two things Herrick says are now important contributors to his business.
Herrick grew up on a small farm on Upper Dwyer Hill Road and went to Kemptville College.
“I was always interested in agriculture,” he said.
When he bought Kinburn Farm Supplies in 1983 it was only his second job out of college. Now Kinburn Farm Supplies is a family business.
“When I started the business, I was single,” Herrick said. “I married my wife in 1986 (he confirms over a phone call) she started working here and she’s probably been here at least 30 years and has been a big part of my success.”
Now his son Michael works at the store and Michael’s wife Melissa as well. Herrick has two other children, Joshua and Terrilyn, who don’t work at the store.
“He bought the house next door so the entire property is under one ownership again,” Herrick said. “Hopefully Michael will take over when I retire.”
History is important to Herrick. Some of the clutter that makes up his office is memorabilia of milestones Kinburn Farm Supplies has reached. He has several framed photos of the business as it has changed over the years. He even has a photo of the original owner who built the business. Leo Colton and his staff pose around a supply truck in a picture that dates back to the 1930s.
In his vault, Herrick has a hand-written note from former owner Everett Armstrong who had documented the owners and renters of the long-standing business.
“A really nice gentleman,” Herrick said of Armstrong. “He hand-wrote the history for me just off the top of his head. I can’t remember what I did last week.”
The note was written in 1984.
The note says Leo Colton built the mill in 1925 and then a house in 1935. Richard Dellahunt bought the business in 1956 and then Armstrong in 1962. Berry Feeds leased the store in 1973. Berry Feeds re-leased the business to Bill Hooper who did not want to purchase it. Finally, Armstrong was able to sell the business to former West Carleton Mayor Dwight Eastman in May, 1983. Five months after that, Herrick bought the business and is now the longest-serving owner.
He says it’s the people that have made that time so enjoyable.
“When I’m dealing with customers, they say they remember coming in here as a kid,” Herrick said. “Now they’re coming in with their kids. I know of some families that we have served three generations. There’s a lot of business out here and we are certainly a different store and I think people find that neat. We specialize in feed and seed and fertilizer and we always have.”
Kinburn Farm Supplies Inc. is hosting its anniversary sale right now, click here for more information on the store and the anniversary sale.