Need for feed – Kirkwood biz marks 10 yearsEmily Peters and Stella Peters wash their dog, Russ, on a Sunday afternoon at Kirkwood Feed and Seed. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt
The Kirkwood Feed and Seed operates like an old country store, one that happens to be located on a busy street in one of Atlanta’s in-town neighborhoods.
But hipster chickens aren’t going to feed themselves.
“I brought in chicken food, because there’s so many in town chicken farmers,” owner Joann Schwartz said. “So I brought in quality organic chicken food and I can’t keep the stuff in stock. I go through probably 45 bags a month.”
Schwartz celebrated 10 years in business on July 26.
Schwartz started the business in July of 2004, having previously worked as a police officer in Rockdale County. She left that job to work as a contract investigator for the U.S. Postal Service, but lost the job due to budget cuts.
“I didn’t want to go back to being a street cop, to be honest with you,” she said. “I had some people say, ‘You know, Kirkwood’s a happening place for dogs and pets. Think about opening a pet place.'”
So she did. In 2008, the suites next to her storefront on Hosea Williams Drive vacated and she expanded her business to include a doggy daycare and boarding service.
Thom Trainor often works behind the counter. He’s been employed at the shop for a year. He also is the comics and pop art director for Dragoncon, Atlanta’s annual science fiction and fantasy convention.
He gets a lot of regulars, mostly dog owners. One of the store’s popular features is the free-standing dog bath. It appeals to in-town residents who like the convenience of bathing a dog without having to clean up the mess afterwards.
The store also has a mascot, Fred, an orange tabby that has the run of the place. Trainor said he gets a lot of requests to put up lost and found dog posters.
“We got a guy whose dog gets loose once a week,” Trainor said. “He comes to the door because he knows I’ll give him treats.”
Peter Montgomery is a customer and not ashamed to admit that his loyalty has a lot to do with the store’s proximity to his home. He stopped by the afternoon of July 20 to pick up some pig ears for his pet.
“My dog loves those ears,” he said.
Schwartz attributes her company’s longevity to the quality of her products and being a part of the neighborhood.
“A lot of people love in-town living and supporting the neighborhood businesses,” she said.