Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Old Feed Store

by Shanna Hatfield

My soon-to-release sweet contemporary romance, Easter Bride, is set in a small town. Several scenes from the story take place in a feed store that's been around for more than 100 years.

Piper Peterson manages the feed store that's owned by her grandfather. His grandfather was the one who founded the store from what was originally a blacksmith shop and livery. 

I had such fun imagining what that store might look like, especially remaining in the same family for more than a century. 

Can't you just envision how the store must have evolved as the world around it changed? 

I could picture bags of feed and bins of nails and a whole section of tack.

And since the family never throws away anything that might come in handy someday, Piper discovers any number of old treasures, like vintage advertisements and signs.

The store even has the original scales that are still in use.

I thought about the feed store I used to go to with my dad when I was a young. It was old and had been around for a long time. The hardwood floors gave testament to that fact.  In the story, Piper's favorite place in the store is where she creates displays on the original hardwood floor. She loves to incorporate antiques she unearths in the massive storage warehouse. 

Back in the old days, many feed stores painted their buildings to match the brand of feed they carried. For example, a store carrying Purina products might have been painted the trademark checkerboard red and white.

But as communities evolved, the world changed, and agricultural needs shifted, feed stores had to adapt to serve their customers. 

Today, most feed stores are so much more than just a place to buy feed. The stores might sell clothing and tack, pet supplies, hardware, housewares, and have a garden center. 

And in the spring, they still carry a selection of seeds along with baby chicks. I love going to our local store to see the chicks each year. In fact, those sweet little chicks inspired a fun scene in the story.

Here's an excerpt: 

With a charming smile in place and thoughts of how much he wanted to kiss Piper again swirling through his head, Colt pushed open the door to the feed store. Chaos greeted him in the form of fuzzy chicks and squealing children.

Three little girls giggled and screeched as they ran up and down the aisles, chasing half-grown chicks while a handful of adults tried to herd what seemed like a thousand little chickens toward the back of the store.

Piper and her assistant manager, Jason, were catching birds and placing them in a big stock tank as fast as they could. Each time they disappeared down an aisle to capture more, a pair of rascally boys lifted the birds out and turned them free again...

Piper Peterson loves the small community of Holiday, Oregon. She resides there at a beautiful, old farm where she’s surrounded by animals she’s rescued. And she manages the feed store that’s been in her family for more than a hundred years. Despite her contentment with life, her grandfather’s plans to sell the store and farm leave her future up in the air. When a sly matchmaker works to set Grandpa up with the perfect woman, Piper jumps at the chance to lend a hand. But the last thing she expects is to fall in love while helping her grandpa find happiness.

Stuck at a crossroads in his life, Colton Ford can’t decide which direction to head. Then an invitation to stay at his brother’s ranch in Holiday provides an opportunity Colt can’t pass up. He hopes time spent at the Flying B Ranch will help him clear his head and sort out his life. Before long, he finds himself entangled in a matchmaking plot involving his widowed aunt and a charismatic old gent. When he agrees to give the budding romance a nudge, he has no idea the man’s delightful granddaughter will capture his heart.

A heartwarming story filled with country charm, laughter, and hope, Easter Bride is sure to bring readers the joys of budding spring and sweet romance.

After spending her formative years on a farm in eastern Oregon, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield turns her rural experiences into sweet historical and contemporary romances filled with sarcasm, humor, and hunky heroes.
When this USA Today bestselling author isn’t writing or covertly hiding decadent chocolate from the other occupants of her home, Shanna hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.
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