Eck’s

I have commented before about the importance of feed stores to our local community. A fellow blogger at Wing and a Prayer Farm has also recognized this simple fact of rural life. Feed stores are sources of a great many things including feed, supplements, seed, fertilizer, fencing supplies, veterinary equipment and treatments, and tools. Few such places are franchised and although their venn diagrams overlap in terms of items and services for sale, each is unique and has a character all its own. I have observed that the proprietors themselves as well as the targeted demographic of the place defines the character of each establishment. Some cater to the owners of companion animals and sell pet food, collars and leashes, as well as doggie beds and catnip. In addition to these items other feed stores place an emphasis on horse feed and on a plethora of exotic feed supplements for show and competition horses. My favorite sort of mill caters to livestock and crop farmers. The last category in this taxonomy are places owned and operated by the Amish and these establishments have a flavor all their own. As one would imagine Amish mills stock items to serve the very particular needs of this very particular community. They carry most of what I have already mentioned plus supplies needed by those who live without electric lights and farm with draft. I have wanted to photograph the inside of our local mill and took the opportunity to do so yesterday when I happened to drop by for some grain. Business was slow so I casually asked if it would be alright if I took a few pictures. An active railroad passes just outside the back door of the establishment and its capacious feed room is the converted rail station. If one looks closely and has knowledge about such things vestiges of a previous incarnation may be reveled in the widows and sliding doorways. The image below shows a very small corner of the store illuminated by the late afternoon sun. It is composite HDR sequence which I hope conveys the feel of the character of this special place.

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10 thoughts on “Eck’s

  1. My favorite Pairodox post so far. That place is bursting with character and the photo conveys it perfectly… too bad it doesn’t come with that distinctive mix of smells of grain, chemicals, dust, grease, and wood. I can smell it now just looking at the photo.

    • Thank you! I was surprised when more folks didn’t respond to this. Perhaps it can only mean more when one has experienced the place. I wonder when scratch-n-sniff technology will finally make it to the inter-web? I like your Gravatar! D

  2. Love the ladder on the wall! What a great photo, your words do elegant service to the common man feed store. (Thanks for the pingback – neat!) I would love to take a peek at side-by-sides of the variously themed stores. I had not thought of the feeds tore-culture in such a way before!

    • Thanks Tammy. As you’ve already observed, these places are special and either out-of-place or out-of-time or both! They are vestiges of times-gone-by … I wonder how long they can survive in the face of competition represented by so many big-box-stores. I hope I never see the say when mill stores such as this are no longer. What would we do without them? I don’t like to think about it. I hope you’re keeping warm up there. We’ve still got a foot of snow on the ground which is really unusual for us. Hopefully some of it’ll melt as we’re expecting somewhat warmer weather next week. D

  3. The image has the charming and appeal of a childrens’ picture book. You just want to reach up and into the shelves and touch something. It is whimsical and dreamy and has nostalgic appeal which causes one to feel as if he/she has been there before. Lovely, lovely.

    • Yeah, Eck’s is a very special place. The Ecks are like members of our extended family. Tom, Gary, Greg, and Rod are all about our age and have always been willing to go the extra mile for us and for all of their customers. The place is a fixture without which we’d be lost. Thanks for the spot-on observations. All feed stores seem to be out of a different place and time. D

  4. Looks so warm in cozy. As if Laura Ingalls Wilder and Pa would be shopping there too! I bet you’re like a kid in a candy store there!

    • Yeah … there’s a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere there. The Eck family is very nice. Tom, Gary, Greg, and Rod are all about our age and are just a nice bunch of guys willing to do just about anything to help you git-‘er-done. We’ve known them all for as long as we’ve been here and that’s getting on for nearly twenty years. I was just about to say that I don’t know what we’d do without them … I do know what I’d do … I have to travel to the feed store in the next town over … but it wouldn’t be the same. They really are like members of the family.

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