A Bit of Country in the City at The Feed Store


Savannah Brookman, Staff Writer

Drive down south Harlem avenue and you’ll hear the typical sounds of life in an urban area: horns honking, trucks idling, and sirens.

But if commuters listen hard enough, they may just hear a loud rooster crowing and or some screaming baby goats. The sounds will come from the west side of the street, mostly from a barn and old country-looking store that is rarely noticed.

That would be the feed store.

The store filled with all the farm animals and equipment anyone would need to start a mini ranch.

The Feed Store is a unique pet store that people don’t really see around this area too much. It is definitely out of the ordinary. Normally when people think pet store they probably think of PetSmart or some sort of store like that with dog and cat food. This store is not quite that. They do in fact sell dog and cat food, but it goes beyond into chicken, duck, horse and so much more.

The Feed Store was first founded in 1948 by Joseph Bestwina, who is no longer around. It was then passed down to Joe and David Bestwina, who are brothers. In 2017 David passed away and his daughter Brooke (current owner) took over with her uncle Joe. In June of 2020 Brooke was in a car wreck and her sister Blaire helped take over and run the business. Thankfully, after 51 days in a coma, Brooke has recovered but still needs assistance from her sister and uncle with running the store.

When you walk into the feed store, you are automatically greeted by salesmen who are ready to help. This store is a bit different because customers shop but do not carry anything. The customers salesman will walk alongside them writing down everything they would like and they get it ready for them while they look around and pay. They even go to the extent of bringing it all to their car for them.

At The Feed Store customers run into a huge variety of products. They have everything from dog and cat food to chicken feed and coyote urine.

Yeah, it’s random.

They definitely sell some of the weirdest feed you never thought you’d need, such as monkey feed. “One time a guy came in the store and asked if we sold monkeys and the feed for them. That was definitely one of the weirder requests I’ve gotten.” Said Luis B, an employee at The Feed Store.

Some of the weirder products they carry at the store are wolf urine used to keep predators away. They also have quail harnesses, saddle soap and shiner, and even a variety of dead animal parts for dogs.

Raccoon that came to visit in the Feed Store

At the feed store they sell dog treats that you don’t really see everywhere. Some examples are duck heads, like the whole head, eyes and everything. There are also giant Dino bones (cow femur bones.) and basically all the leftover parts of animals like duck hearts, chicken feet, pig snouts etc…

Don’t be afraid though, they do also have a huge assortment of regular treats like the classic milk bones and bacon strips. One fun fact about this store is they do not sell anything that has been recalled or have bad ingredients. When they do have a product they want to sell but it is bad, they go out of their way to research and find the all-natural alternative to it.

The Feed Store specializes in selling almost any type of seed, feed or grain you need. Some products are wheat, canola seed, all different sunflower seeds, flax, corn and many more.

They also sell an assortment of poultry feed. The company makes a decent amount of their feed right there in the store. There is a huge mixer that holds and mixes thousands of pounds of seed at a time. The feed is mixed and poured into 25 and 50 pound bags by hand by employees.

In the back warehouse, there are thousands of different seeds and feed. What they employees do is find a recipe, they all vary depending on which mix they are making. Then they collect the bags and put them next to the mixer. They start loading it. Depending on the mix, they could be making a couple thousand pounds of feed at a time. The mixer mixes it obviously, then there is a spout towards the bottom. The bag goes over it and the lever is pulled filling the bag with feed.

The loaded bags are then brought to the scale where it is hand weighed to be the exact amount of poundage that feed needs to be. Each mix is different with how many pounds they are. Above the scale there is a little hand held sewing machine made for these bags. The machine is kind of old, but it works great. the bag is held shut while the sewing machine sews over it closing the bag making it ready to be put out on the sales floor.

There are animals sold at this store but its not what people would normally expect. Normally when someone walks into a pet store they expect cats, dogs, hamsters and bunnies being sold. At the Feed Store there are chicken, ducks, peacocks, goats, turkeys and basically any poultry animal thought of. They also sell small birds like canneries parakeets, cockatiels, finches and also random birds people give to them.

Luis also commented, “A typical Feed Store customer walks in and ask for chicks, they never know what they’re doing so we have to give them a crash course on how to care for them. They always ask for the same thing, two chicks, straw or bedding, feed and feeders.”