A Century of Service in Sherman: Farmers Mill, Inc.

Farmers Mill associates Dale White, Carol Wilkinson, Ron Meeder and Barry Markham
Farmers Mill associates Dale White, Carol Wilkinson, Ron Meeder and Barry Markham

Article Contributed by
Beth Peyton

Even though Ron Meeder says there are people in Sherman, NY who don’t know it exists, Farmers Mill, Inc., located just off the beaten path on Kendrick Street, is about to celebrate its 100th Anniversary. A hundred years ago, Farmers Mill was incorporated to provide area dairy farmers more leverage when buying products and selling milk.

It’s hard to imagine a Sherman resident who doesn’t shop here. Farmers Mill sells a wide range of products, from the essential and practical (canning supplies) to the more frivolous and fun (wall clocks with cows).

Mr. Meeder has been the manager for the last 18 years. He’s worked in agriculture and been associated with Farmers Mill his whole life. His expertise is apparent when a customer disembarks from a giant tractor left running in the parking lot and seeks advice about how to prepare his soil for planting. In a clipped code of numbers, pounds and acres, Mr. Meeder softly advises the farmer about the content and amount of product he needs to purchase, and how and when he needs to apply it.

The Anniversary celebration will take place on Friday and Saturday, May 6 and 7.

“We hope to have some dignitaries here, and we’ll be giving away door prizes,” Mr. Meeder said. “Gift certificates and other things will be announced every half hour on Saturday, from 8 until 3. Customers must be present to win.”

Cake and ice cream will be served alongside plenty of fun and camaraderie. Ron Meeder and his co-workers, Carol, Dale and Barry are eager to assist customers as they come through the door. Mr. Meeder says they know most of their customers by name.

When Farmers Mill was created, its primary function was to grind and sell dairy feed, and the customers were almost all farmers or farm families. Today, the customer base consists of homeowners and hobbyists, too.

Browsing the aisles is an adventure at Farmers Mill. Shelves are lined with tools, garden supplies, plants and seeds, canning supplies, hunting supplies, bird feeders and more. Old-fashioned items, including J.R. Watkins’ Products and bag balm are on hand, along with trendy rubber boots, blue jeans and farmer’s overalls. All sorts of gloves for men, women and children line one large wall. A customer can buy a coat or a shrub or a toy for a grandchild.

100 Years in Sherman, NY
100 Years in Sherman, NY

Farmers Mill sells everything a backyard chicken farmer would need, including the chicks. And the staff dispenses valuable advice for free. They can tell that backyard farmer how to raise those chickens. They can tell a customer how to save a sick tree, or get rid of garden pests.

All sorts of pet supplies are available, too. Farmers Mill sells feed for animals of all sizes, from bird seed to horse chow.

Ron Meeder and his staff have put together an array of memorabilia to commemorate the anniversary. Photos, old invoices, calendars and advertisements depict a long history of the store and the community. It will be on display during the celebration.

The general public is encouraged to attend the weekend celebration along with regular customers. More information, including driving directions, can be found on Facebook: Farmers Mill Inc.

Beth Peyton is the author of Clear Skies, Deep Water: A Chautauqua Memoir. You can find Beth at www.bethpeyton.com To read more of Beth’s creative and informational contributions to the Jamestown Gazette, please go to www.jamestowngazette.com.