A longtime Evans business is going back to its roots.
Brown Feed and Seed has operated in Columbia County for almost 30 years. Owner Donnie Brown is expanding the business and has plans to refresh its original feed-and-seed store charm and enhance convenience for the customers by constructing another building behind the existing one at 4275 Washington Road.
"When we moved out here (from across from Columbia Square) 20 years ago, nobody was out here," Brown said. "It did not look real good when we bought it. It did not look like the retail business was going to come this way. Now, most businesses are either expanding or not doing good. There is not an in between anymore."
Brown is a third-generation owner of the business. His grandfather, J.D. Smith, had 14 feed-and-seed stores in Atlanta before he moved to Augusta. The family bought and rebuilt a milling company that burned in the 1930s. Brown's father, Glenn, briefly ran the business, but diedshortly after the business opened.
The Browns have since closed the mill and focused solely on retail feed and seed, including animal feed, landscaping products, insecticides, wheat, straw and live animals.
"The business has changed over the years," Brown said. "But you have to. You have to change in this business."
Because of the volume of customers, especially on Fridays and Saturdays, the parking lot and loading facilities are just not big enough. So Brown is erecting a new building, only slightly larger than the existing one, on the same six acres of property that extends to Old Evans Road. When River Watch Parkway is extended up Old Evans, the store will have an entrance from Washington and Old Evans roads.
"We are expanding, but we are not getting too much bigger," Brown said. "We are outgrowing Washington Road. Out here, we get so plugged up. We get a lot of tractor-trailers and we cannot fit them in our parking lot on Friday and Saturday when we get busy. We are just expanding to have more room. We are going to have a whole lot more room. Our loading and unloading facilities are going to be a whole lot nicer. We can get the people in and get them out and people appreciate that. That is what we are going to do, service the people quick."
Customers at Brown Feed & Seed are used to seeing Blue sleeping in the doorway of the store.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Though it is being upgraded to handle higher volume, the store's setting will revisit an old-fashioned feed-and-seed store. Live animals including horses, goats, rabbits and chickens will be near a pond in the rear. The store is known for the chickens that often run loose in the parking lot, which the children love, Brown said. The store is one of the only places that still sells live animals such as ducks, chickens and rabbits.
"We are going to make it kind of like the old-timey, old-fashioned feed-and-seed stores with a petting zoo," Brown said. "We are going to have animals, the kids they just love them. The kids will be able to pet the animals."
The store always has been family-run, and Clara Brown, Brown's mother, always has been the bookkeeper. That family appeal has kept loyal customers coming back.
"It is a good business," Brown said. "We get the same customers over and over."
Brown said he loved feed-and-seed stores as a child and spent much of his childhood in the family store. He said he hopes to one day pass it along to his son, Dallas, who is 6 years old.
"We hope he will take it up," Brown said. "He already loves to come down here, especially when he is sick and Dad has to babysit."
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