December 6, 2021
“Our store is located inside our old barn built in 1903, and this property has been in my family since the 1800’s. I grew up here haying and caring for dairy cows, which we had on the farm until 1985. We used to sell dairy products, and a lot of people in town remember us for our whole milk, butter and ice cream. I’ve heard some of them say they toured our farm as a child, which is cool to hear.
I went to college to be an Agricultural Engineer, but didn’t want to handle the math they were throwing at me. I did a farmer's course, but I still wondered what it was I should do for work. Having worked with cows for all my life, it made sense for me at the time to take a job with Agway Corporate, a northeast farm supply chain.
In 1994, I had the opportunity to buy a store in Westbrook and I was there 5 years before I lost the lease. Again, I was left wondering what I should do. So I went to my dad with a proposition.
I asked him what he would think if we tried to fix up the barn and do business there, and without hesitation, he told me to go for it. And in 1999, we opened, and since then, sales have been growing and we love to see that.
When COVID hit, we stayed open the whole time. We were deemed essential because we take care of animals, and business just blew up, which we were grateful for. In the Spring of 2020, it was just a madhouse here. All day on Saturdays we didn’t do anything but run around trying to keep up with everything.
We became so burnt out from working those long, busy Saturdays. We would sell out of everything and wouldn’t get resupplied until Monday, so we decided to close Sunday’s and haven’t changed it since. We’re still open 6 days a week, which gives people more options for visiting with their potentially busy schedules.
A lot of people do rely on us and if we ever went out of business you wonder where people will get the things they need. We love that our community appreciates what we do, and our customers mean everything to us. They support us and we support them.
We also really appreciate the history of our farm and our town. We have some photos on display that were taken of the house across the street, taken between 1930 and 1950. We used to call it “The Big House.” I remember my great-grandfather, when I was 8 or 10, sitting on the couch in that house. He wasn’t doing anything special in that memory, but I still like thinking back to it. And I like remembering where I come from when I spend my days here.
I never imagined Andy’s Agway would become what it has, and I never intended to get into retail, but I guess I'm pretty good at it. I like people and kids, and we have a lot of good customers that make it fun to be here every day.” - Andy Cole, Co-Owner of Andy’s Agway in Dayton