Livestock Swap Sells Animals and Supplies
If a regularly scheduled farmer's market was a great place for buying and selling fresh produce, then why wouldn't the same notion work for livestock, wondered Wendy Pimentel, of Seabrook, N.H.
Pimentel talked over the idea with Cheryl Emerson, a team member at the newly-opened Tractor Supply store in Milford, N.H., about organizing a "Chickenstock" - an event where chicken lovers flock to swap birds and tips - in the store's parking lot.
They coordinated the first chicken swap with Tractor Supply's grand opening in summer 2008. "People came from Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts," Pimentel says. "It was awesome."
The Milford Tractor Supply agreed to host the swap monthly, and helped to nurture its growth.
"There weren't that many vendors at first, but (organizers) advertised it (online) and we posted a bulletin on our front store window when the next one would be," says Ben Thompson, the Tractor Supply store's assistant manager. "It grew right from there."
Selling chickens was the original plan, but it grew to include other livestock, such as other poultry, goats, sheep, pigs, and the occasional horse.
In time, vendors who sold such products as homemade soap, honey, and used livestock equipment were invited to participate to help create more of a market fair atmosphere that now draws large crowds, Pimentel says.
Other retailers and feed stores around the region recognized the unique critter swap's value and requested to regularly host an event, as well.