Thanks for celebrating with us!
Photos: CK and CLP
Events for Saturday, May 3, 2014
DJ -- Popcorn -- Slushes
Product reps available for Stihl, Purina, Garden & Wildlife Products
Super Sale All Day (Friday, too)
Enter to win Grand Prizes & "You Pick" Prizes
Mini Door Prizes drawn every hour!
8 AM Kids' Painted Birdhouse Judging
Wooden birdhouses painted prior to event by Pre-K class at Tender Care Learning Center; will be on display & returned to the class afterwards
9 - 10 AM Fat Cat Contest
Bring your cat and we'll start weighing in at 9 AM. Heaviest cat wins $25 gift certificate & bag of treats. Please bring cat on leash or in carrier for his/her safety.
10 AM - 1 PM FREE Petting Zoo and Barrel Train Rides
11 AM - 1 PM Complimentary Hot Dogs & Drinks
1:30 PM Drawing of Mega "You Pick" Door Prizes
Need not be present to win; See prizes here
2 PM Drawing of Grand Prizes
3 Winners of $1000 Gift Certificates
Must be present to win!!!
All day Friday & Saturday
May 2 & 3
10% off ALL STIHL Serial Numbered Equipment
Discounts this big are only offered once a year!
Stihl Rep will be on hand for consultation
BUY 1, GET 1 FREE
PMI Exclusive and Red Flannel Pet Foods
Mix & Match, Lesser Priced Bag Free, Limit 1 Free per household
Purina Impact Horse Feed
All Formulations: 12% Sweet, 12:6+L Pellet, 14:5 Pellet, Forage Extender; Limit 10 bags per household
Purina Stocker Grower 14% Cattle Creep
Limit 20 bags
Includes pellets, crumbles, and Omega-3
Save $50 off every $500 spent
New Styles of Muck Boots 20% Off
Xpress-Cool Shoes and Boots
3 Grand Prize Winners of
$1000 Linseisen's Gift Cards
will be drawn @ 2 PM Saturday
*must be present to win grand prizes*
7 Mega "You Pick" Door Prizes will be drawn at 1:30 PM Saturday
Each person can choose which prize they'd like to try to win; need not be present to win:
Stihl BG 55 Blower and Stihl gear bag $200 value
$500 Purina Feed Credit
300 lb All Seasons Stand & Fill Solar Deer Feeder $560 value
YETI Roadie 20 Quart Cooler $200 value
25 Gallon Sprayer with 10 ft Booms $400 value
Corintian Bells Windchime Gift Set with $100 Gift Card $200 value
Pair of Texas-Made Wooden Rocking Chairs $340 value
Additional Mini Door Prizes will be drawn on the hour both Friday and Saturday
In June of 1974 when Ed & Rita Linseisen purchased the Bellville Purina feed business from Dale Porter, the cattle market was strong. They planned to continue to sell groceries, beer, and hardware items temporarily, but considered cattle feed their majority of sales. “Then in July, cattle prices dropped from 48 cents to 19 cents a pound. Money got tight for cattlemen, and us, in a hurry.” says Ed. “We were glad to have groceries, fertilizer, and tires to sell. But ultimately, what got us through those first tough years was hard work and loyal customers who stuck with us. We tried to keep prices fair and competitive, and the good people of Bellville carried us through.”
Over time, the Linseisen’s phased out the groceries, added Stihl equipment and repairs, and steadily grew the animal health, gardening, and pet departments. “It’s hard to know when to make changes to keep up with the times. But if you pay attention to what customers are asking for, you’ll know,” adds Keith Linseisen. “Cattle feed sales are stronger today, but the business as a whole is much more diversified and retail-oriented.”
The Linseisen’s building was originally built in the 1950's by Craddocks’ chick hatchery. There are still faint reminders of that time, where the floor dips slightly from the drains the hatchery used for sanitation and the green cinder blocks in the old warehouse area. Through the years as the business grew, the warehouse and the retail space were renovated and expanded to make room for new inventory. Updates in 2001 brought more retail space, an exterior facelift, and a wide wraparound porch. The floors, shelves, sales counter, and offices were all torn down and redesigned in 2008 to give the interior more sales space. In spring of 2012 a bright new retail greenhouse defined the garden center area.
Running a feed store came naturally to Ed and Rita, who both came from agricultural backgrounds. Ed is a graduate of Texas A&M with a degree in Ag Economics and grew up on a large family farm in Hockley; Rita's family operated their own dairy in Klein. Their children, Connie, Keith, and Carrie, each worked at the store as they grew up, while attending Bellville schools and showing animals in 4-H and FFA.
Keith, who was 6 years old when his parents opened the store, graduated from Bellville High School and Texas A&M and worked in other areas before returning to the store in 2000. In 2005, he and his wife, Becky, purchased the business and moved to Bellville. Their sons, Brett and Blake, now 13 and 9 years old, can be seen most mornings playing ball at the store before going to school for the day.
We asked Ed, Rita, and Keith some questions:
What surprised you most about the feed store business?
Ed: The variety of products that we are able to sell.
Rita: Relationships with customers.
Keith: The evolution into a modern, retail oriented setting.
What was the best improvement or addition to the business?
Ed: Paving the parking lot.
Rita: Adding the pitched roof. The flat roof leaked every time it rained!
Keith: Replacing the roof and adding the porches to make the building more modern and inviting.
What was the biggest failure or disappointment?
Ed: Trying to repair the old roof.
Rita: Bulk fertilizer. We had an utter disaster when floor of the warehouse we were using collapsed.
Keith: The drought of the past 10 years has really eroded cattle numbers in our area.
What has been the biggest challenge over the years?
Ed: Keeping up with changes in feed and products.
Rita: Keeping accurate inventory on feeds – having enough of the right feed, and fresh, at the right time for every customer.
Keith: Balancing family and work.
What was the most memorable moment for you over the years?
Ed: We held a cattle producer’s meeting at Coshatte Hall where we used live cattle for part of a demonstration. One of the cows didn’t like the pen – so she pushed the panels over and took off down Coshatte Road. Our Purina rep had to continue the meeting without me as I chased down that cow. Didn’t get her back til the next day!
Rita: When we closed on purchasing the business, Ed was out of the country for his previous job, and a storm came through. Here I was, trying to manage a business transaction on a damaged building and 3 little kids, and him not here to help!
Keith: Unloading rail cars. Feed used to come in on the train, and when it arrived you had about a day to unload an entire rail car full of 100 lb sacks of feed, without pallets or dollies.
What items are sold in the store now that would never have sold 40 years ago?
Ed: YETI coolers and bottled water.
Rita: So many pet supplies and variety of dog foods!
Keith: Bagged soil, dog toys & clothes
What items did you sell when the business opened that would never sell now?
Ed: 100-pound bags of feed.
Rita: Hundreds of straight-run baby chicks…
Keith: Tons of pig feed. Very few people keep hogs today.
What items sell as well today as they did 40 years ago?
Ed: Quality products.
Rita: Not much!
Keith: Bagged fertilizer, poultry feeds
How has the business changed since 1974?
Ed: Customers research products and have a better understanding prior to shopping.
Rita: We now have a large segment of customers with small ranches here, who either live in Houston and visit on weekends, or commute into Houston for work. Their needs and expectations are different than those who grew up on farms in the area.
Keith: There’s been a big shift from just “feed and seed” to retail.
What do you think are the main factors that have kept the business successful for 40 years?
Ed: 40 years of good, hardworking, honest people: employees and customers.
Rita: Not just selling feed, but adding gifts, toys, etc. while keeping it a small town country store atmosphere.
Keith: Hard work, good employees, and trying to have the foresight to change with the times.
What are you looking forward to?
Ed: Continuing to sell high quality products.
Rita: May 3rd, 3 pm.
Keith: Continuing to serve the people of our area. I look forward to meeting and making friendships with newcomers as they join our community, while being thankful for relationships forged over years with long-time customers. The customers are the reason we’re here, and hopefully are for many more years to come.
Linseisen's is celebrating 40 years of business Friday & Saturday, May 2 & 3
Come join the fun!