Donnie Brown recently went to a lot of trouble adding on to his feed and seed store. Too bad most people have a hard time seeing the improvements.
The owner of Brown Feed and Seed at 4275 Washington Road has rebuilt his store behind the long-standing original building.
But the new location is harder to see from the road, leaving some to question whether the business is still open, Brown said.
"Most of our regular customers know where we are, but a lot of my wife's friends driving down the road think that we've closed up or have gone broke," he said. "Unless you pull in, you don't actually see our arrows showing you where the store is. We've got a sign saying 'Moved to the back."'
Brown said the old store was too cluttered, the parking lot was small and it was difficult to load and unload goods. He finally had no choice but to expand.
"We moved two buildings," he said. "We had two warehouses in the back of store we were in on Washington Road. We actually had to move them to develop this whole piece of property going out to Old Evans Road. We moved them back here and just decided to move the store. We built it into a feed store with a dock and parking lot."
Although the new building is nearly the same size as the former one - about 6,000 square feet - it feels bigger and is more convenient, Brown said.
"It probably is a little bit bigger, but it's a lot more open," Brown said. "We were getting a little stuffy up there in the front."
A sign in front of the old Brown Feed and Seed store directs
customers to the back of the property where the new store is located.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Brown's father built the original store in Martinez in 1975.
Seven years later, the family moved the business to six acres, its current location between Washington and Old Evans roads.
Brown also has built a new animal pen and petting zoo, featuring chickens, ducks, rabbits and more at the new spot on the property. With the construction, Brown also decided to add another entrance by building a driveway from his store to Old Evans Road.
He said he hopes some of the confusion about the store's existence will be alleviated when he puts up a new sign on Washington Road in the next couple of weeks.
"We need to do something," said Brown. "A lot of people have told me they think we've gone broke. We have a lot of walk-in traffic, and they don't understand what's going on."
When everyone learns where the store is, Brown said he is convinced the new location will improve his business.
"We just service everybody a little bit better out here," he said. "We can get them in and out faster."
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