SPRING HILL – Illinois-based farm and feed store Rural King opened its first store in Florida Monday on U.S. 19, with a grand opening set for Sept. 6-7.
Although the warehouse-sized store is classified as a farm store, they have a broad selection of merchandise beyond that classification.
“I call it the ‘wow effect,’” said store manager Jeff Hixon. “They come in here and say, ‘Wow, I didn’t know you had that.’”
That includes long columns with more than five brands of jeans, including Rural King’s own for $10 a pair. They also have bib overalls similar to railroad style, five styles of Wrangler including pro-rodeo boot cut, Carhartt jeans, jackets and boots, and jean shorts for the Florida summer, among many other merchandise.
“Guys that work outside like to wear their overalls,” Hixon said. “You probably won’t see a bigger selection of gloves anywhere. We have an awesome assortment of boots and western-style boots in men’s, ladies and kid’s sizes.”
At the entrance of the store, a large popcorn machine is lit gold with popcorn, and complimentary coffee is offered for customers. Rural King employees vested in red greet newcomers at the automatic doors and were all locally hired from the Spring Hill-area, Hixon said.
Two customers drifted in Thursday and went right for the jeans.
“This is the store (we) have been looking for,” one said.
“We have gun supplies and safes, cleaning supplies for guns, targets, hard and soft gun cases,” Hixon said, adding firearms will be soon to follow. “Most people for a farming store wouldn’t expect we have all this stuff.”
Rural King has rope and chain, riding and push mowers, seeders and outdoors lawn and garden department with plants, cattle feed and hay, industrial fans, and livestock food and water dispensaries.
“We’re going to have chickens pretty soon when it gets colder,” Hixon said, and the store currently has rabbits. “If you buy chickens or rabbits we have everything you need to care for them.”
The center of the store is devoted to dog, cat, and livestock care, including five- and seven-way vaccination shots for animals. “It’s mostly grain free with a lot of vegetables,” Hixon added. “There’s basically a little pet store inside here.”
“A lot of people come in here and see this and buy this, and say, ‘Oh yeah, I remember that,’” Hixon said.
And it’s accessible to Rural King customers everyday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
“The only day that we are closed is on Christmas,” said Hixon.
Rural King is located at 2468 Commercial Way in Spring Hill next to Long John Silver’s.