As the economic landscape changes, retailers struggle to maintain pace
Several retailers have struggled in a retail industry that has been taken over by online retailers and big box stores. While the checkered fates of industry titans Sports Authority, Radio Shack, Toys ‘R Us and Sears have made headlines, changes to industry have affected family-owned businesses as well.
One of those victims is Pueblo’s Sweeny Feed Mill, which, after 50 years in business, is closing down its historic location on East Fourth Street. At one point a feed store that was generating $2.4 million annually in sales, the Pueblo icon has seen its sales drop dramatically over the years due to bigger chain stores providing similar products and online retailers making shopping for feed something consumers could do from their couches.
Opened in 1968, Sweeny Feed Mill specialized in selling feed products to Pueblo’s numerous agricultural experts as well as pet owners.
“I’ve been raising poultry, game birds, and exotic pheasants and exotic covers for most of my life,” said Mark Rosen a regular at Sweeny Feed Mill. “Since I was 9-years-old I have depended on Sweeny to provide all my bird, dog and cat feeds and supplies, and have nothing but good to say about the way they do business and the products that they mill and represent. Their milled grains are the cleanest I have ever seen anywhere and they also carry a lot of zoo quality high-end feeds if you have specialty animals.”
The house-milled feed was one of the draws of the feed mill and according to several customers the staff’s knowledge of their products as well as the ones they distributed set them apart from large-chain feed suppliers.
In addition to a loss of sales to larger retailers and online retailers, Sweeny Feed Mill also found monthly electrical bills of $2,500 to be a revenue drain.
The fact that other retail industries are struggling doesn’t do much to ease the pain of closing at Sweeny Feed Mill. Owner Devon Carson hopes to sell the building at 403 E. Fourth St.The owner Devon Carson could not be reached for commet.