Farm & Home: Many stores under one roof
By Mark Sherry
Mark Sherry photo
Farm & Home is now the region’s largest Valspar paint and stain dealer. Among the employees ready to assist customers in picking out and mixing paint colors are (front, from left) Donna Pingel, Debbie Geiser and Vicki Spresser, and (back) Farm & Home co-owner Kim McKeen.

There is a new electronics store in Chilton.

There is also a new cellphone store in the community. And a new hardware store, a new dollar store, a new paint store, a new pet store, a new rental center, a new flower/plant shop, a new U-Haul rental center, and a new framing shop.

Right about now, readers are asking themselves, “Where are all these new stores? Is Chilton booming that much?”

Actually, all those stores are under one roof—it’s Farm & Home, located in the Northside Shopping Center. And while Farm & Home is hardly new to the community, it is continually changing, updating and reinventing itself to best serve its customers.

Co-owner Kim McKeen said, “We’ve got a lot behind us—everything except clothing and food, and those items are in the Shopping Center.”

Farm & Home has so much under one roof that people—even longtime Chilton residents—often forget all that it has to offer. McKeen has plenty of stories of local residents who searched far and wide for certain items only to rediscover that they were, in essence, right in their backyard the whole while. Time is money, and rather than wasting both—not to mention a tank of gas—McKeen always encourages local residents to check out what Farm & Home has to offer before they waste a trip elsewhere.

More than meets the eye

And what Farm & Home has to offer is more than meets the eye. Supplying the hardware store portion of the business is Do it Best, one of the largest worldwide suppliers of hardware with approximately 67,000 items available online and in its warehouse. With Do it Best shipments arriving every Tuesday and Friday at Farm & Home, customers can order anything Do it Best sells and have it in Chilton within a few days without any shipping costs. The order can be done on the customer’s personal computer, at the Farm & Home store, or even with a phone call to Farm & Home. “It’s local shopping online,” McKeen said.

One of the biggest changes under the Farm & Home roof over the years was the addition of a full Radio Shack store. Anyone who watched the recent Super Bowl saw the debut of a memorable commercial which carried the news that Radio Shack stores will be getting updated, and McKeen said that is a process which has already started at Farm & Home and will be ongoing. New color schemes and signage will be part of the transformation.

“We are a full line Radio Shack store with all of the electronic gadgets and widgets you need to connect all of your electronic devices,” McKeen said. “And we have the staff that can tell you how to connect them.”

That staff also services the U. S. Cellular store which has the area’s largest selection of the latest cell phones offered— now including Apple’s iPhones. McKeen said not every U. S. Cellular store was selected to carry the popular iPhones, but the high volume and high levels of service given over the years at the Chilton location made it an obvious choice.

iPads and accessories

A selection of Apple’s iPads also has been added to the U. S. Cellular store. McKeen added, “If you want to dress up your phone we offer a huge selection of cell phone accessories.” He also said U. S. Cellular offers a plan where people can keep their home phone.

Farm & Home is clearly not an “average hardware store,” and that theme continues with the fact it has a complete pet department called Kritters Korner. “It is one of the most fun departments because of all the live animals,” McKeen said. “Rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, rats, mice, parakeets, reptiles, turtles and fresh water fish—the selection is constantly changing. Even though we do not sell cats or dogs we do stock everything you would need to keep them happy and healthy.”

The Daily Dollar department at Farm & Home offers customers all the fun and value of a dollar store. There are thousands of items ranging from health and beauty aids to craft items, toys, games, houseware items, school supplies and even some pet items. McKeen said items change at least monthly.

Also available is a huge selection of greeting cards for all occasions for just $1 each. McKeen said customers often will stock up for a whole year at those prices instead of paying five or six times that in some stores.

Complete rental center

He added, “On top of all of these stores under one roof we also offer many services like a complete rental center. You can rent a tiller for the garden, rooter out your pipes or sand your wooden floors, then just for fun whip up some cotton candy.” McKeen said he encourages employees to try out rental equipment so that they are experienced in its use and can provide advice and tips to customers.

Farm & Home also serves as a U-Haul rental dealer with trucks, trailers and appliance dollies available. Virtually any size vehicle can be arranged by giving advance notice to Farm & Home.

Custom framing of family photos, homemade cross stitch projects or any other number of items also can be done at Farm & Home. “We have hundreds of custom frames to order from, along with a huge selection of mat boards,” McKeen said. “Have a special item or project you want framed? Just bring it in and we would be glad to offer our professional assistance in picking just the right frame and colors.”

Very soon Farm & Home will add yet another store—its seasonal outdoor garden center. The huge center appears each spring/summer with bedding plants, perennials, flowering shrubs, evergreens, and shade and fruit trees.

To keep yards looking good year round, Farm & Home also sells a full line of Husqvarna power yard equipment. Whether it is blowing leaves in the fall, snow in the winter, dethatching in the spring or mowing in the summer, Husqvarna has the equipment Chilton area residents need.

Last but certainly not least, Farm & Home is the area’s largest dealer of premium quality Valspar paints and stains. Check out the quality of Valspar paints by looking at the new coat of paint put on the Farm & Home building last year.

“Indoors, outdoors, all year round, Farm & Home either has or can get just about anything you need,” McKeen said. “It’s one-stop shopping and local.”