December 11, 2012

Feed, tack and supplies

Cohutta store began as retirement project

Rachel Brown

— When Dave Anderson retired from a career at a local adhesive company, he knew fairly soon what he wanted to do with his new-found free time.

In March 2010, the man who had grown up on a farm struck a deal with the then-owner of Cohutta Feed and Supply off of Cleveland Highway to part with the business.

“This wouldn’t happen to be for sale, would it?” Anderson said he had asked the man six months earlier. “He said, ‘You know, I’ve been thinking about it.’”

Soon, Anderson was the proud owner of the small block store in Cohutta as he plunged full time with wife Dorothy into the feed and seed business. Anderson said it had been a dream of his to own a farm store for some time. The hours are long, and the business isn’t exceptionally lucrative, but Anderson said he enjoys interacting with his customers and being able to supply them with the kinds of things they need for their hobby farms and other activities so they don’t have to travel into Dalton or Cleveland, Tenn.

After he purchased the building, he undertook several improvements, add-ons and projects to update and expand the store. The building was, at separate times, home to a restaurant and a convenience store. Now, the 3,500-square-foot facility has an assortment of hardware and farm items.

In the spring, there are flowers, seeds and small plants the Andersons grow from seed themselves. There are fishing supplies, horse tack, Victor brand dog food — a high-end brand with ingredients like Alaskan salmon and sweet potato — chains, heaters, fire extinguishers, brooms, rakes, shovels, nails sorted in a 1921 patented turntable, herbicides and pesticides.

“It’s a fun business, especially in the spring when you get to bring in all the plants and the flowers,” Anderson said.

Dorothy Anderson said the hours are long, but she enjoys helping customers. If she were at home all the time, she said, she’d be bored.

The Andersons’ customers have taken notice of what one person referred to as their strong work ethic.

“They work so hard,” said Marilyn Thomas. “They try to put in a wide variety of little things (to sell). They’ve really worked hard to try to reach out to the community.”

Randy and Marlin Cochran, who are in the heating and air business, said they often come to the store to purchase supplies.

“It saves a lot for us (to keep from) having to go into town,” Randy Cochran said.

The store is just off of Cleveland Highway. It is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. The phone number is (706) 694-3131.