Andrew Michaelson, 42, retired from the U.S. Marines in 2014 after 22 years. He served as an infantry unit leader with two tours in Iraq and two in Afghanistan. He grew up on the Key Peninsula and returned home with no intention of running a business.
But then he was hired by Jerry Davis at Drive-Thru Feed in December 2015. He started by loading feed, and then working in the office and doing sales. “Now I’m doing everything,” he said. “A good employee gives as much as he can.”
“Andrew is about the same age I was when I started this business as a swap meet 20 years ago, 18 years as a feed store,” Davis said. “He has been doing a fine job. I was actually going to close up until he started talking about taking it over. Now the manager of the store is running the feed store.”
“Jerry plans to enjoy his retirement,” Michaelson said. “He’s doing a good job already. I like him living here (at the store), providing mentorship to me and security for the property.”
A change of business name entails a new license and a new seller’s certificate, now registered with the state as Drive-Thru Feed.
“The business concept that Jerry developed, I couldn’t have designed a better model,” Michaelson said. “Organization of time is the biggest learning curve.”
Michaelson is in no hurry to make changes, but has been working on ideas for bulk purchasing, online ordering, streamlined preordering and an improved loyalty program (building on the popular “Follow Me to Drive-Thru Feed” bumper sticker campaign).
Drive-Thru Feed is located on the corner of State Route 302 and Wright-Bliss Road in Vaughn. Michaelson’s goal is to keep prices as low as possible, including supplying feed for livestock and farm animals, hay, propane and wood stove pellets. He offers a delivery service within a 15-mile radius of the store for $25 (one-ton minimum, two-ton maximum).
Davis had already adjusted prices in anticipation of the minimum wage increase to $11 per hour this January. “There is one full-time employee, two part-time and me,” Michaelson said. “I didn’t realize I’d be so busy.”