Indeed, successful retailers know that much of what they sell can be had in the big box stores, sometimes cheaper. It’s what goes along with the sale that keeps their parking lots full. “We have four certified crop advisers, an animal nutritionist, two pesticide application specialists, two master gardeners and a nursery professional on staff here,” Deatherage notes. Producers now has a lawn-and-garden center, but even the so-called farm store is well lit and ultraclean so it appeals to women.
“In the 1980s, people from the city began moving back out, and that’s when the concept of rural lifestyle began to take off,” notes Blake Fohl, TSC’s vice president of advertising and marketing. The chain has tapped into hobby and part-time farmers in a big way.
“Since the 1990s we’ve had the Agurbs,” Fohl says. “People want their little piece of heaven. With interstate highways, people can live out and commute to work. They like smaller communities and the rural lifestyle. That is the lifestyle we serve.”
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