Tough Decisions


10 Years
Mar 8, 2009
Southern Illinois
This is really long. But I am so confused, and need to vent and get some opinions.

Well yesterday when I was buying grain at the local feed store the lady started talking.

Long story short, she said she was getting too old to lift grain bags and run a business so she wants to rent or sell the retail part of her store.

She said she would love for me to take it.
I work for her now. At first I was shocked, then super excited. But the more I got to thinking the more I thought it was a bad idea.

Now I can't decide. I have mixed feelings.

Me and my boyfriend would split everything. We could afford to go together and pay rent, and run the business. We would share the work load. We intend to get married in a couple years.

The biggest issue is we both still live with our parents. We're in college. But if anyone looked at us they would think we are both way way too young to own a store. I was asked if I was over 12 years old at a restaurant last week....

I work full time, and have several jobs, besides going to college for two associate degrees. Our plan was for me to finish school, and for both of us to work like maniacs for two years so we could get married and be stable. It is a good plan.

But now this new opportunity opens up. I never wanted to own a business, I'm more of a followers. But I could totally see me running a farm store!

I'm great with money. By the time I was 16 I had a truck, a herd of registered goats, 3 horses, 200 chickens, a job, and I paid for everything including feed for everyone. Right now I work 9 hours, 4 days a week. Plus give horse lessons 3 days a week, and do college 3 days a week. I'm crazy busy.

We are both really mature for our 'young' age. I honestly think I could handle a little store like that. I know so much about animals, I think it would be great to share my knowledge with the people around here that really don't know much about animals. The next closest feed store is 30+ minutes. They are expensive, the food is not nearly as good, and the workers know absolutely nothing about animals. I always use to joke about opening a fee store.

It is about 2 miles or less from my house.

She is really busy currently, and only sells feed. She used to sell pet products years ago and did good but she just got too old. She also does grooming and boarding, and is always full to the max with up to 35 dogs in there at once!
She would want to keep the other half of the store and continue doing the grooming and boarding.

She would rent the store building for only a few hundred a month, and I could do whatever I wanted with it. She said she would still love to work sometimes and mentor if I needed help.

Me and my boyfriend have been best friends for nearly all our life. We have been dating for 3 years. I have no doubt we will get married, and don't worry about us spliting up and trying to figure out how to split the business.

Gosh it's just so much to think about!

Above the store is a 2nd story which could totally be turned into a little apartment, or what I would really love to do is turn it into a pet photography studio. Both of us do photography and it would be fun to take pictures of familes and their pets.

I would love to do it! My mom and his dad are totally for it, and would help us get it going. The rest of our familes aren't sure but are coming along.
I just wonder how much stress it would cause, how tied down I would be, if I would make any profit, and if if this is what I really want.

It's such a good opportunity, I hate to pass it up because of doubts. Then 10 years later be like 'aww I should of took the chance when I had it'

If anything I could give it a try, and if I hated it I could just stop renting and that would be the end...

Gah I just don't know. I need help guys!


9 Years
Jun 13, 2010
Spanish Springs, NV
wow sounds like a great opportunity - i don't have any experience running my own business - i'm sure there are people here that could help you though. make an informed decision - review her business records with someone experienced.

good luck!


10 Years
Mar 8, 2009
Southern Illinois
I would sell livestock feed, and pet food.

Then also supplies, and stuff that I love but can't get around here!

Like DE, stall dry, oxine! All the good BYC stuff!

I would love to sell things people sell on here like the aprons, jewlery, and other things BYC'ers make.

I also have farm fresh eggs, produce, goat milk soap.

I could have endless possibilities! Really neat animal things that they just don't know about or use around here.

But I just don't know.
It's such a big step. I don't know if I'm ready to quit my life and run a business. I would still do school.

The plan is to pray, wait, and find more out about it.

I'm hoping the Judy (the owner) would show we what she does to order and everything, and I could see how complicated it is.

She plans on selling everything including her house and land in a few years. It would be awesome to buy it.
But thats future....


12 Years
Feb 1, 2009
Lexington, KY
It sounds like it could be an amazing opportunity for you!!

That said...

Make sure you ask to go over the books, and have an experienced accountant there with you to help you do that. That will give you a good idea of its profitability. You'll also want to assess whether or not you'll need to hire more help, less help, etc.

The location of the store sounds great! That's a HUGE asset in any business. It's also great that she's willing to still work and help if needed, especially if she's doing a good job running it now. One question though... if she's renting you the building for only a few hundred a month, what happens to the building when she dies? If her kids get it, the rent might go higher than you can afford. Make sure you sign some sort of a VERY long term lease agreement with her, or make arrangements to buy the building from her eventually as well.

I would also find someone you know who runs a successful business and ask them for their opinion on the store.

So, long story short, I think you should go for it (after you do everything I mentioned earlier...)! Good luck!!


9 Years
Jun 13, 2010
When looking back on my life the one thing I regret most is not taking more chances. If you have your parents on board that's more than half the battle. And if you are not afraid of hard work-that's the other half. Everything else will work itself out in time. The worse that could happen is you could fail. Been there. Done that. Lived to tell about it. You never know unless you try
If you think you can do it-you can. If you think you can't-you're right!


10 Years
Apr 16, 2009
You need to see the financials and stuff first, but it certainly sounds exciting and like it could be a great opportunity. You just want to make sure that the boarding isn't where all of the money is coming in from, you know? I only bring it up because she says she's getting too old for the physical work, but boarding, cleaning and grooming are pretty physical, too, yet she's keeping that part. SCORE is a great organization of retired businesspeople that mentor new/small business owners. Maybe someone there can help you with what you'd need to see on the financial aspect and making a business plan.


10 Years
Mar 8, 2009
Southern Illinois
You guys are such enablers.

The bad part is she hasn't kept good records so she has no idea just how much profit she has made. She does know she makes a profit because she lives just fine on that only income.

She has no kids.

The plan would be eventually to buy it from her probably. Maybe make payments to her. If it went well and I enjoyed it.

I'll keep doing my research and get some professional advice. See just what is involved in running a small business.

I don't want to regret not taking a chance later in life. But it just seems so crazy for me to run anything. I also don't want to be more stressed than I am.

The hours there would be mon-fri 8am or 9am - 5 sat 8am-noon sunday closed

So it would only be like 50 hours total a week. And me and my boyfriend already work more than that as it is. And that is if we didn't hire any workers. Which his younger sisters said they would like to work, along with my neice, and my mother would totally help out too.

ETA: The reason she is wanting to stop is because she has carpal tunnel at age 65 and it's hard for her to grip the 50 lb pounds and unload them from the truck by herself. She has no family.

She loves grooming and boarding, and wants to continue as she is one of the few that offers it with an hour driving or more. But she plans to retire from that in a couple years too she said. All the groomers around here including her are completely booked and can't take anymore pets. It's crazy. lol thats where the big money is. But I have no desire to groom dogs.

I don't want a lot of money either. Just enough to be comfortable. And it would be great to work for myself.

I am going to college for website and graphic design. It could work great. In between customers when I am sitting around I could be building websites and making more money.
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9 Years
Feb 23, 2010
Lot of things to consider.

Start with a simple look at the business. The neighborhood around. Try to see
it in the years ahead.

You are saying that you would rent the building from an elderly lady. Sooner or later
she will die or sell the property. Then what? Better to look ahead. Could the business
be moved to another location such as one of the parents home, barn, garage? Can the
business building be sold separate from the home?

In considering buying the business, what are you getting verses starting your own?
Buying her name? Her clients? Her suppliers? Her name may be gold, but clients are

Ask if you can see her records for the past three years at least. Both sells and otherwise.
How does she buy the feed? What type of insurance is involved?

There are many things to look at. And many ways to interpret the information. Tread carefully.

You didn't mention the money. And I'm not asking. Remember to check with your county offices
towards a small business loan/grant. Not just your bank.

At the same time I'm not saying don't do it. Could be a great opportunity. Certainly something
to consider.


Kiss My Grits...
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
May 19, 2008
Western MA
I think it sounds like a good opportunity...
BUT before you commit to need to really consider how this will really work for you..
Will you still go to school?(you better!..
..) Will you still keep your other job? if not.. Are you SURE that this shop can provide you BOTH with enough money to live and pay rent..etc.. AND pay employees..?? If anyone gets hurt on the job are YOU liable? Do you have have insurance on the case an employee or customer gets injured? ETC.. ETC...
..just sooo many things to consider...
Think it over completly!

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