A Ministry Disguised As Feed & Seed
Much more than just pet food and garden supplies The Candler Feed & Seed Store...
As you push your way through the front door off of Smoky Park Highway in Candler, your ears will be the first of your senses to catch joyous laughter of Candler Feed & Seed Store owners Tony and Terri Fisher. That atmosphere was what first attracted me to the couple who were beyond warm and welcoming with light hearts and kind words; a far cry from the reception I had received the day before at a box store where a greeter bitterly mumbled, “Welcome to…”
Beyond their friendly welcome, organic pet food brands, seed varieties and friendly gardening advice the Candler Feed & Seed Store is a hidden ministry which strives to tie the community together. During my interview with the couple, Tony talked about how they both strive to match their customers together by suggesting services provided by one customer to another who needs that skill set and vice versa, not a service offered today by the corporate chains. Some may think there has to be a catch but Terri stressed they do it because it is the right thing to do for their neighbors, customers and friends.
Speaking about connecting people, Terri has a reputation in Candler, even though she denies it, of being the community's Yenta (the matchmaker from the musical Fiddler On The Roof) for any single lonely soul who wanders into the store. Even though she claims otherwise, I am sure many a happy couple have found each other through her thoughtful consideration. She even had a lady in mind for me.
Terri's huge heart doesn't end there as she spends a good portion of her day fostering lost pets until she can find them a forever home. Over the years people have dropped off an assortment of cats, dogs, rabbits and other farm animals for her to adopt out. Tony bragged on his wife by saying, "She [Terri] makes sure all of those pets come with all the shots and supplies they need to start off their new life free of charge."
While Terri is busy working her magic you will find Tony out in his truck making deliveries to their customers around Western North Carolina or working on the docks preparing the next day's deliveries.
Tony stressed he looks at all of his clients as if they were friends and family and does his best to make sure their needs are met. I have no doubt of that because each Christmas Eve the Fishers' store is standing room only with their friends, family and customers when they host their musical Christmas Celebration. They have even had CMA Award Winners perform in past years but one of the funniest and one of the worst years was when they had to arrest Santa Claus for starting a brawl with a Taxi Driver he has stiffed. You'll have to listen to the podcast above to get that complete story.
However, my big questions was, "How have you two kept your marriage together for almost twenty years continuing to work at each other's side and still be madly in love with one another?"
Terri quickly laughed and injected, "We drink lots of Bourbon."
Tony followed up by saying they divide up their responsibilities at the store and home as equally as they can. Plus when an issue between them develops they work hard to resolve it before it grows any roots of resentment. However the real key is having God in their lives and always putting Him and His commandments first above all other things.
In conclusion, my visit to Candler Feed & Seed was so much more enjoyable than I had anticipated when I first pull up into their parking lot. Please visit them for all your pet and farming supplies, but when you drive away I guarantee you will have gained so much more than your pet's next meal.