In the quiet time between customers, Goodwin sometimes wonders if his grandfather would be surprised to learn the business he started is going on its 105th year. He wonders what his experience was like in France during WWI and the deadly 1918 flu pandemic. And how about all these city chickens—would he ever have thought raising chickens would become so popular again?
These days the business is owned by Goodwin and his brother, Kurt, and the only animal on the premises is a formerly-stray cat, Schyler, who’s in charge of rodent control. The business has changed from a rural feed store to a pet food and gardening store, but a recent uptick in raising urban chickens has influenced their sales. “It’s like we’ve come full circle,” Goodwin says. “There’ll be some days when I have five straight customers buying chicken feed.”
Finch seed is sold by the dip. Photo by Jill Draper
Jon Goodwin still uses a wooden dolly from the 1930s to cart heavy loads to customers’ cars. Photo by Kathy Feist
Waldo Grain Co: from rural feed store to urban pet and seed store
“Many generations shop here,” he says. “We know them and we know their families. This area likes independently-owned businesses.”
Sales at the grain company, described as Waldo’s longest continually operating business, are distinctly seasonal, according to Goodwin. In spring and fall he sells grass seed, fertilizer and soil amendments like cotton burr compost, peat moss, pelletized limestone and gypsum. Flower seeds are mostly sold in packets and vegetable seeds can be purchased by the dip from drawers in an old wooden cabinet. Wild bird seed sells well in winter, and some customers take home 50-pound sacks of raw peanuts for cardinals and woodpeckers.
Waldo Grain Co. stands out as a throwback to another time, a red wooden barn that sits close to the shoulder of a busy stretch of Wornall Road at 78th Street. Built in 1926 as a country feed store, the barn’s first neighbors were Croner’s grocery and a blacksmith shop.
Goodwin lives in the Bridlespur neighborhood of south Kansas City. He worked as a teacher for a short time before switching to full-time at the store in 1990. Conditions remain rustic—the barn has survived a fire or two and suffers occasional leaks when it rains (he keeps four buckets handy to catch drips). The only room with heat and air is a small corner office.
Goodwin also sells finch seed by the dip, and credits his grandfather, along with radio personality Toby Tobin, with introducing finch feeders to Kansas City. “That’s the story I was told,” he says.
– Compact plants
– White: fresh flavour
– Yellow: sweet flavour
De Bolster Organic Seeds
Oude Oenerweg 13
8161 PL Epe
High-yielding blocky pepper with bright white fruits weighing between 160 and 170 gm. For the best white colour and fresh flavour, the attractive blocky fruits should be harvested unripe. If the fruits are allowed to ripen further they will turn yellow and will taste sweeter with a gentler flavour.
Resistance (HR): Tm:0
When harvested at an immature stage, bell pepper ‘Waldo F1’ bears white fruits. If left to mature, they become pale yellow and get a slightly sweeter flavor.
This 75/25 Indica-Sativa is the hybridization of Pez and Purple Cherry. This plant is suited for either indoor or outdoor growth . Outdoor growers should be conscious of its size (up to 7ft), as the plant itself can grow to look like a tree. Indoors, this plant does not grow nearly as tall but requires trimming. Waldo has a taste of spice that is on the musty side. The Sativa qualities are easily noticeable as the patient often enters some deep thought. However, true to its dominant Indica genetics, Waldo also provides a full-bodied, relaxing sensation. Neither side of the experience is too heavy and this strain does well in social situations.
Growing Waldo Marijuana is Moderate