New feed store comes to Pine Island
Pine Island is undoubtedly one of the more rural places in Lee County. With an abundance of open land, it is not uncommon to see the landscape littered with livestock and other animals. Commercial and private individuals own a variety of animals on the island.
Until recently, feeding many of these animals posed a challenge for many residents. Coming to the call of cattle, horse, goat and pig owners are Mike and Peaches Gerner of St. James City.
“We found that anybody with farm animals on the island had to travel to a place like Futral’s in Fort Myers to buy feed and hay, and since we had been looking to start a new business on the island, we thought a feed store would be the answer,” said Mike. “We have both been retired a long time and were in need of something to do. I have always wanted to run some kind of mom and pop operation like a hardware store, but this seems to be working out very well.”
Pine Island Feed carries name brand food for horses, goats, chickens, fish, birds, dogs, cats, rabbits and other animals. Brands in stock include Manapro Central States, Diamond, Purina, Buckeye, Iams, Science Diet, Katee, Nitro and Pro Plan. However, Mike said he would address any of his customers’ particular needs.
After having resided on the island for the last 30 years, Mike began his plans for Pine Island Feed and Garden Center, now located on Stringfellow Road just south of the center. In addition to food for barnyard animals, Pine Island Feed also stocks food for dogs, cats, rabbits and other domestic animals. Also in the works is a new garden center which will offer everything from bedding plants to full-grown palm trees.
“Peaches has always loved plants, so this will be her part of the business,” said Mike. “We are working on building a structure at the front of the property where shoppers can pick up their feed and other supplies as well as potted plants, decorative pots and other garden items.”
Mike said it is hoped that the garden center store will be ready to open sometime before Christmas, however, the couple is currently storing feed and hay temporarily in a large garage area behind their home.
“When we get the garden center and feed store open, we want it to have a Cracker Barrel look and feel complete with rocking chairs on the front porch,” said Peaches. “We want people to come and relax and enjoy the grounds while they shop.”
According to Mike, the feed and hay store is catching on quickly.
“We are having a lot of fun getting to meet new people and learning more about the different animals they keep here on the island. Just last week, we met a man who has Galapagos tortoises and we were able to provide him with a certain kind of hay they like to eat. He also told us that they really like Romaine lettuce so Peaches has planted a row of it in her garden just for him,” said Mike. “I get the feeling that we may be busier than we had first anticipated because we are providing a service that is economical and time saving for our customers. We probably won’t make a lot of money, but we are going to enjoy the business.”
During the winter season, the Pine Island Feed and Garden Center will be open seven days a week and at this time the hours are flexible. Those needing feed and hay supplies can call Pine Island Feed at 558-5042.