Norway area farmer takes over feed and supply store business
NORWAY — A long-running Norway business that provides animal feed, farming and gardening supplies and more is under new ownership.
The former Ray’s Feed Mill at 120 E. Ninth Ave. on April 1 became Parker’s Feed and Supply.
The owner, 41-year-old Charles Parker, comes from a family of farmers and owns Parker Farms, where he keeps steers and grows crops such as oats and corn.
“I bought my first tractor when I was 11,” Parker said. “Going ever since.”
At 16, Parker got a job working for Tom and Charlotte Ray, the owners of Ray’s Feed Mill. He worked for the Rays for three years before getting a job as a heavy equipment operator for the Norway Department of Public Works.
“I always liked visiting with the customers, delivering, stuff like that,” Parker said.
While working for the DPW, Parker would often return to Ray’s Feed Mill for farm supplies.
“I was here two, three times a week, probably,” Parker said.
But after 26 years in business, the Rays decided it was time to retire.
“I’d see Charlotte when I’d come here to get fertilizer, she said they were selling,” Parker said. “(Tom) said, ‘We got to get something going here, because I think you could make it work.'”
Parker was interested. After more than two decades working for the city, Parker left the DPW to take over the feed mill.
The business is doing well, he said.
“We’re busier here than I figured,” Parker said.
Parker wakes up at 4:30 a.m. to work the farm before heading to the feed mill at about 7 a.m. There, he goes over paperwork and readies his deliveries for the day. Once his deliveries are made, Parker returns to the mill to make more feed.
“People are coming in, they’re happy to see us, we’re happy to see them,” Parker said. “It’s a good thing.”
Parker’s Feed and Supply is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays. The store offers corn, hay and oats, as well as custom-made feed mixes for chickens, pigs, alpacas and more. Parker’s Feed also offers livestock supplies, garden seed and items such as shovels, brooms and gloves.
“If (people) liked the service the Rays provided, hopefully ours will be just as good, if not better,” Parker said. “That’s what we’re striving to provide — a quality product.”
Brian Christensen can be reached at 906-774-2772, ext. 229, or email@example.com.