Feed store serves local valley needsWritten by Christy Hemken
The location has been a feed store since 1976, and Darin says he bought the business in 2004 from Kelly Powers and he now sells feed, tires and shop supplies. The store neighbors Covolo Auto-Farm Service across the street just south of Urie.
“I was born and raised in the valley, and I’d thought about buying the feed store for a long time and I finally did it,” he says. “It has its ups and downs, but it’s pretty much the only feed store in the valley.”
Darin says he’s been involved in the cow/calf industry his entire life and he now runs cows strong on the Angus side. He markets his calves through video sales or the Riverton or Torrington livestock auctions.
“A few buyers come around and buy calves in the area, but quite a few producers are starting to go to video,” he comments, adding that he’s country sold for many years and tried video one year.
Of the feed store, he says his closest real competition is in Evanston with Murdoch’s and Keith’s Feed. “A lot of the newcomers travel over there, while I get quite a few locals here,” he notes.
Darin says the valley has seen a lot of people moving in from the Green River/Rock Springs area. “The land is drawing them over,” he notes. “When the oilfield hit Green River/Rock Springs it forced a lot of them out. There’s also a lot of horse people moving out here, with once-a-year horses they take hunting then turn out, or ropers.”
The biggest change to the area has been the growth, he says, and not so much on the business end, but just the people. “We’ve gained 4,000 or 5,000 more people since I was in school, which is a lot for a small community.”
“I enjoy the open space, and having nobody at your back door,” he says of what he enjoys about living in the valley. “My closest neighbor is a couple miles away.”
Of the future of Valley Feed & Tire, Darin says, “In times like these it’s tough to say how the future will go. If the economy turns around we’ll have growth and expansion, but if it doesn’t, I don’t know.”
He says feed sales have been down 45 percent. “I used to go through four to five tons of feed a week, but now it’s four to five tons a month. A lot of business is going to Evanston, or people just aren’t spending the money. I see it in the tire industry, too.”
“At this point we’re going to ride it out and see what happens with the economy,” says Darin of the store, which he works six days a week with some help from his son on his days off. “There’s no sense going in real deep and then have something really go south.”