After opening their business among COVID uncertainty on the 7 July 2020, The Farm Co Moora are celebrating a successful first year of operation.
Managing Director Amanda Walker has no doubt that the support of the local community has been key to their success.
“We have been really embraced by the community here,” said Amanda. “The support we’ve received has been phenomenal, not just in terms of doing business, but in people coming through the door, people coming to get to know us.”
“We try and reciprocate that as much as we can — we sponsor anything we are asked to sponsor. It’s a big part of business and it’s our way of saying we are really happy to be part of this community and are happy to contribute.”
The Farm Co is a one-stop-shop for farming supplies, no matter the size of your enterprise. “We’ve got a real mix of customers here – a lot of people might just have chickens or dogs, then we have large-scale broadacre farms that we service,” said Amanda.
Running an online shop alongside The Farm Co’s Yerecoin location, plans for expansion were underway before the global pandemic cast a shadow of doubt over the world.
“We always knew we needed another location, a bigger centre,” said Amanda. “We literally made the decision and then COVID came! We decided to just push ahead with it, signed the lease and within a week we were open!
“We were worried that we wouldn’t have enough stock and that it would look really bare…now we are at capacity and are waiting for new shelving to arrive to store more.”
The Farm Co is an independent, family-owned business whose friendly staff have impeccable knowledge of both their extensive product range, and the local area.
“Our staff are amazing. Helen Lethlean, our agronomist has an almost innate knowledge of the area – really knows the farms and growers. It’s more than just a job for her, she’s so committed to making sure her clients have the best possible outcomes with their crops every season and I think she’s really unique in that respect.”
Working for The Farm Co goes beyond the scope of a normal retail position, with management incredibly supportive of their staff goals and willing to help them extended their skills and experience. For example, team member Chanel Duggan will be studying an Agribusiness Degree at Muresk with the support of The Farm Co.
“Chanel is very much involved in the animal health and nutrition side of the business and she wants to build on that — and we want to support her,” said Amanda. “Emma, is our school leaver and about to start her traineeship in agriculture, and we are tailoring that towards what we do in the business so she can both learn more and add value to the business.”
Looking after their future staffing needs by engaging with the local high schools, offering workplace learning placements, is also a priority.
“I’m a big believer in cultivating from within, so we can cultivate our next crop of staff from within town. That’s a big part of what we do,” said Amanda.
Although Amanda describes developing her business skills as ‘winging it’, she has a Masters in Business Administration from Curtin University and applies many traits from her former career as a research scientist.
“Being from a science background, I’m very process-driven and it’s about looking at what you want to achieve and then figuring out a way to do it, and that’s how I look at business,” she said.
But learning the value of people power didn’t come from university or from a lab, but from countless hours listening to their customers’ needs, often over a cup of tea, and investing in long-term, mutually-beneficial relationships.
Amanda explains, “People are the heart of our business – our customers and staff. We have to do the right thing by them all the time, otherwise we wouldn’t have a business.
“We are really optimistic about what we can continue to build here going forward.”