“We first opened in Rydal. We were about 15 miles north of here on [U.S.] Highway 411,” said Manager Keith Taylor. “We sold the feed, the eggs, the dried goods and gasoline. They widened Highway 411 in the early ’60s, I think it was, and of course, they had to have part of our property when they did that. At the time they just decided to find a place down here, and that’s when we moved to Tennessee Street where Arco [Ideas & Design] is now.”
The business moved at least once more before settling on its current location at 12 Leake St. in downtown Cartersville. Through all of it, owner Sandy Taylor said, the business could not have been so successful without its local customers.
“It’s really good to be an established store and be able to be in business that long. We’re very thankful to our customers. We’ve had a lot of loyal customers, and we appreciate all of them continuing to trade with us and new customers as well — which makes it possible,” she said.
As a way to thank their customers, the Taylors are hosting a 65th anniversary event Saturday at Taylor Farm Supply. Running from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., the event will include a number of door prizes throughout the day, including the giveaway of a handheld Stihl blower. Sandy Taylor said refreshments would be served throughout the day, with hotdogs being offered from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. A number of items will be on sale that day only, as well.
To make it to 65 years, Sandy said the business had to adapt to the changes going on within Bartow County. From the agricultural focus of the 1950s and ’60s, the business began to shift toward the lawn and garden market throughout the ’70s and ’80s.
“I would say the first step toward that would have been in 1984, when Steve became a partner and bought his grandfather’s part, and put in lawnmowers. I would say that was the defining moment. I mean, it wasn’t just one moment because we do still sell farm supplies,” she said.
Taylor Farm Supply began in 1948 when H.A. Taylor and his sons, Eugene and H.A. Taylor Jr., saw the need to provide farm supplies in Bartow County.
“It was my grandfather, my father and my uncle, [they] started it,” said Keith. “They ... just saw a need to help supply the area farmers with feed and stuff. ... Of course, we had a 162-acre farm, all kinds of livestock. We had hens, poultry — we sold the eggs. That was a big part of our business then, just feed and eggs and seed, garden seed.”
Keith said he worked at the store when he was younger, before leaving to go work for the county for 24 years. He later started his own business, but he returned once his brother, Steve, was elected county commissioner nearly one year ago.
“Actually, I came back. ... All of the grandboys, well, I say all of us — most of us — we started out here. When we were young we’d work on the farm, we’d come to the store, we’d work down here. It was a cycle, you might say,” he said.
When Steve Taylor was running for county commissioner, there was little time to think about how to continue without him if he were elected, said Sandy, his wife. The family was too busy with the campaign.
“It’s been a learning experience for both of us. Even though I’d been here, I just stayed in the office. Keith’s done a good job coming in. Really, we haven’t changed the way we do business,” she said.
Steve said his wife and brother were doing a good job running the business in his absence. This year has proven to be better than previous years after the recession. He put the growth down to the wet weather, and joked that it was also because he was gone.
For Steve, though, the most difficult part about leaving was not seeing some of the customers on a regular basis.
“The hardest part was seeing the same folks that come in every week for their supplies, and I don’t see those folks as much as I used to. That was probably the hardest transition for me, was just being away from some of our regular customers that came in for so many years, and they’re still coming in from what I understand,” he said. “That part was hard to adjust to. But, you know, I still come down on Saturdays some, and if they need me, they can call me.”
With 65 years behind the supply business, Steve said he and his family were thankful for the longtime support they have received from the community.
“We appreciate this community so much and what they’ve done for this business. Like I say, it’s all about now, for me, as far as I’m concerned, giving back. It’s been good,” he said.