For some people it just makes sense to open their own farm shop. Some have been running their own farm for some time, others have a great location, lots of space on their own farm and still others just love the concept that is hidden behind a farm shop. So when we think of a farm shop, the idea of organic quality immediately comes to mind. And indeed, many farm shops value the origin of their offerings, most of them even come from their own cultivation. But since you naturally want to offer more than you grow yourself or simply want to have a more diverse range, your own farm shop must also shop and purchase its goods.
Farm shops are now very popular again, simply because more and more people want to live or eat more sustainably and consciously. Fresh and high-quality food is popular. If you can meet this standard, then setting up a farm shop is a good idea!
Open a farm shop and know the requirements
Before you can open your farm shop, you have to provide suitable premises. A farm shop is usually opened in a converted barn or in a stable that is no longer needed. Building applications often have to be submitted for the construction or renovation, and the completed building must also be approved. Since these conversions can be very expensive and possibly represent your largest investment, you should take out a loan or have a financial cushion. The responsible chamber of agriculture should also be visited afterwards, with them you can discuss the concept of your farm shop.
You should consider the following aspects when setting up your own farm shop:
- Think carefully about which products you can or would like to offer in the future. Your customers will be happy about a wide range of products, but you have to decide how many products they can offer in good quality. They are not a wholesaler or supermarket and cannot offer everything. Farm shops usually supply basic groceries such as dairy products, bread and rolls or fruit and vegetables. It is sufficient to focus on regional or seasonal foods; you do not need to stock strawberries all year round. This would only harm the philosophy of a farm shop. Your customers will appreciate that.
- Or maybe you decide to only sell products from your own farm. Although this reduces your inventory, your customers will know exactly what they have in you in the future. Eggs, milk, salad or fruit can be of high quality from their own cultivation, there is no need for transport and it is up to you to what extent your products are organic or not.
- But sometimes it also makes sense to buy additional products. In the strawberry season in summer, people just love it when they can buy fresh strawberries. If you don’t have any chickens, you may be able to get some from the nearest chicken farm. Think about what foods almost everyone buys and make a detailed list of the foods that you plan to sell in the future.
- If you can specialize directly in organic products, the better. More and more people attach great importance to this and are of course prepared to spend more money accordingly. The awareness of nutrition and food has changed a lot over the past few years and has turned into a positive awareness. People like organically grown food, happy chickens and happy cows in the pasture. Factory farming pork and sprayed strawberries that taste like nothing are increasingly being left behind. Do better.
- Surely at this point you also need to become aware of the competition in circulation. Do you know a nearby farm that is pursuing a similar concept or that runs an already successful farm shop? If so, how about entering into possible collaborations and running or expanding comparable shops together or running a kind of franchise farm shop?
How to successfully run your own farm shop
First of all, as a farm, you have to create a certain atmosphere in your farm shop. Make it appealing, get yourself large, attractive wicker baskets, a few plants and nice containers. Perhaps you can offer a small play area for children or create seating? In a yard, bales of hay or wooden rocking horses are usually very suitable.
Busy yourself with equipping your shelves. Certainly you cannot refill them indefinitely, so use smaller baskets so that they always look well filled. Separate fruits and vegetables or baked goods and dairy products and try to present the food in a visually appealing way. You can also achieve a lot when it comes to labels and lettering. The glass bottles of your milk, for example, can contain your logo, as can the eggs, or you can have your own bags printed on your own. All of this initially requires a bit of investment, but it may be decisive for the marketing of the farm shop.
In a farm shop you have to provide information about the products from your farm, so you need a small information shelf for this. Visitors and customers can find photos or seasonal dates, brochures and perhaps recipes there. Draw attention to yourself in other ways by picking up the customer at the locality. Your access road should also be provided with a sign. You may even be able to attach a small brochure holder to the information sign. Invite people regularly, for example organize an “open court day” where you might offer pony rides for children and sell grilled food.
Feel free to ask the newspaper or the advertising paper whether they would like to come over to test the new products. Placing an ad is almost always worthwhile. However, do not only show the present in the regional newspaper, but also show a certain presence on the Internet. There you have to display the current offer, a description of how to get there and the opening times. Of course, current events also have to be promoted there, perhaps in combination with a Facebook page?
If your farm shop does well, you will need staff who pass the concept of the shop on to the customers. Farm shops should always be a little unfashionable, original and far removed from the supermarket chain philosophy. They don’t finish the goods on the assembly line, they know exactly which egg comes from which chicken, or that the apples taste particularly juicy this year. Be close to the products with your farm shop, identify yourself with the origin, the processing, the taste and talk to people about it.