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Feed store offered drive-thru service before it was cool

Slideshow: A drive-thru option is a sign of the times in 2020, but the Misiniecs of JAM Feeds were already doing it.

One way many ag businesses have adjusted during the COVID-19 shutdown is initiating drive-thru or curbside service. For Jason and Heather Misiniec, owners of JAM Feeds, Bicknell, Ind., the adjustment was minimal.

“We’ve featured drive-thru service since we opened [our new facility] in 2019,” Jason says. “Some people looked at us funny at first. But then they found it convenient.

“Since we have big overhead doors on both ends of the warehouse, we arrange our inventory along the inside, so customers can drive in with their pickup or car right to the spot where we load their feed. It makes it easy for us and them, too.”

When social distancing became a necessity, this setup reduced necessary person-to-person contact. The Misiniecs also offer an assortment of feed and veterinary care items in the front section of their store, plus some items Heather adds to appeal to women. During the quarantine, the Misiniecs have limited access in the front part of the store to one customer at a time.

The idea for drive-thru service didn’t originate with them, Jason explains. Some suppliers where they obtain feed use a similar arrangement. The Misiniecs modified it to fit their needs.

Story behind JAM Feeds

The fact that JAM Feeds exists on a 5-acre, fenced-in lot near Bicknell is a story in itself, Jason says. Jason and Heather have two children, Jacob and Lexi, both in 4-H. Jason is the farm manager for Villwock Farms, Edwardsport, Ind., and Heather worked in the medical field for many years.

“We developed a business selling show stock, and then people asked if they could buy the feed products we used,” Jason recalls. “We sold feed out of our garage for several years.”

Heather adds, “It was getting out of hand. We had feed everywhere during the 4-H show season.”

Opportunity knocked when the construction company that built the current JAM Feeds location no longer needed it. The local town inherited the building and was eager to find a buyer.

Already buying some farmland on their own, Jason and Heather knew this meant stepping out in faith to purchase the facility and expand into a full-fledged business. “It also meant me coming back and running the store,” Heather says. “It was a big decision.”

So far, so good, they say. People have responded to their products and services, coming from miles around. “We carry various lines of feed, and if we don’t have it and it’s out there, we will find it,” Jason says. “We like working with people, and it gives our kids a chance to learn more about business, too.”

Heather adds, “We’ve even got a customer who drives a good way to buy parrot feed. He wanted it, so we sell it.

“Jason rolled his eyes when I started stocking things that could be gifts for ladies or that ladies might like up front, but it’s off to a good start. Especially at Christmas time, if a guy needs a gift, we can help him find one!”

To learn more, visit jamfeeds.com or find them on Facebook at “JAM Genetics & Show Feeds.” See photos of the business in the accompanying slideshow.

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