Supplying Customers with Great Service
by Jenny Dubach
Family Farm & Home is a unique franchise that lives up to its name – a family owned and operated business, where you are always greeted with a smile and treated like family from the moment you enter the establishment. The company, based in Michigan, operates a total of 52 stores located across three states, and it continues to grow.
The first Family Farm & Home store was established in Coldwater, Michigan in 2002. Currently, there are 38 Family Farm & Home stores in Michigan, 11 in Ohio, and 3 in Indiana. The company plans to open another 8 stores within the year!
In the spring of 2016, the Bluffton, Indiana location became the 48th Family Farm & Home store. Natalie Guyer has been with Family Farm &Home for the last 5 years. She began as a cashier at the Peru location and worked her way up to a new position as store manager, taking over the Bluffton location in September of 2016.
Family Farm & Home offers a large variety of items that cater to rural and suburban areas. The company dabbles in a bit of everything, from helping to supply the local farmer or the construction worker, on down to the do-it-yourself homeowner working on much smaller projects.
Family Customers may purchase farm equipment and horse or livestock feed, and other departments in the store offer plumbing supplies, electrical supplies, tools, hardware, automotive supplies, pet care items, clothing (Underarmour, Columbia, and Carhartt), footwear, bird seed, lawn and garden supplies, alternative heating, and more.
Dog food is a popular product for this business, and Family Farm & Home carries many brands – Purina, Taste of the Wild, and Blue Buffalo, to name a few. The store offers seasonal sales that focus on setting the stage for the approaching season, along with moving the older inventory to make room for the new and trending items.
Family Farm & Home prides itself on its customer service. Employees make it a point to greet every customer, acknowledging the customer’s presence as soon as one enters the establishment. The staff is always prepared to help with any need a customer has, welcoming customers into a family-friendly environment and getting to know them by name.
The company offers many great incentives, too, such as its Rewards Program. Participating customers receive special coupons, gift cards and announcements about upcoming sales, such as manager specials, clearance items, and snow day savings. Family Farm & Home also offers 4-H participants a 5 to 15-percent discount off products to help with their annual projects.
Family Farm & Home stores are active within local communities. The Bluffton location contributes to cancer drives and silent auction fundraisers, and also donates to area schools for special projects. Family Farm & Home also sponsored carriage rides for the Bicentennial celebration in Bluffton last December.
After working in the medical field for 25 years, Store Manager Natalie Guyer had decided to take on a new career path. She’d spend 15 years in nuclear medicine, where patients are injected with radioactive material in order to improve the readability of health scans.
Although the two career paths seem on opposite sides of the spectrum, they do have something in common. Natalie’s previous work made a difference in the lives of her patients. She continues to make a difference in others’ lives, passionately offering her knowledge to help answer customers’ questions and meet whatever needs they may have while visiting the store. Natalie says, “Helping customers with projects and needs, as well as watching my employees succeed and grow, is what I am most passionate about and is most fulfilling.”
Natalie has many roles to play at the Bluffton store. She is responsible for making many decisions and overseeing day-to-day operations. Natalie manages inventory, scheduling, payroll, employees, sales, advertising, mailings, displays, and much more.
For 2017, Natalie’s main goal is increasing recognition of the Family Farm & Home name, since the chain is fairly new to Indiana. She says her store is ready to take on new customers and be a steady supplier, regardless of whether the account is large or small. Everyone is treated with same respect and offered the same quality customer service.
When she’s not working, Natalie spends time with her daughter, Delaney. Although, at 13 years of age, Delaney loves coming to work with mom and learning the ins and outs of the business. She helps with whatever she can and is quite knowledgeable about things going on within the store.
The mother and daughter enjoy getting their nails done together as a special treat. The two commute from Peru, for the time being, and hope to find a home in the Bluffton community at some point.
After making a huge career change, Natalie has some inspiring words to those still sitting on the fence. “Go for it. You have nothing to lose, and won’t know until you try.”
She adds, “This company is awesome to work for and has huge opportunities for growth.”
Family Farm & Home is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.
Family Farm & Home
990 N. Main Street
Bluffton, IN 46714