MOORESVILLE — This should go without saying, but animals, just like humans, need to eat for survival.
Tractor and animal feed supply stores remain essential businesses as the COVID-19 pandemic shuts down many other industries across the country.
"It's obviously important to keep the animals well fed during this," Tony Langley, co-owner of the Orchard Country Store. He and his wife, Tracey Langley, own the animal feed supply store in Mooresville.
"There are a lot of farms in the area that are feeding cattle, sheep and goats ... We have to keep those animals fed, and so we qualify as an essential business for those reasons," Tony said.
The Orchard Country Store has feed supplies that serve domestic, farm and exotic animals of varying diets. The Langley's not only supply Morgan County residents with feed, but also Indiana zoos and laboratories.
"We have a lot of rural type products for people who take care of animals," Tony said. "Purina Mills is our primary dealer ... they make feeds that are specific for lab animals and zoo animals, and so we work with them closely to... purchase and distribute."
After the stay-at-home executive order was announced, the Langley's decided to close their storefront.
Instead of shutting down, the Orchard Country Store was transformed into a no-contact drive-thru, where customers are required to stay in their vehicle.
"We're just trying to provide the safest alternative that we can," Tony said.
"We load and unload, really, without even contacting the customer, and we bill them electronically. There's no interaction with the customer that way," Tony said. "Just trying to do everything we can to provide animals with the feed they need and keep everybody safe at the same time."
The Orchard Country Store has seen a decline in customers, but Tony said he knows by staying open he is helping preserve Hoosier farm animals.
"We're not serving as many customers now as we were before, but at least the people that need to feed can get it," Tony said. "And those animals have to survive."
Orchard Country Store has since served about 50 cars a day, and also provides a local delivery service.
Although they do have feed for farm and exotic animals, Tony said they still make a good portion of their sales through pet food.
"We serve a lot of people with just dogs and cats," Tony said.
Tony said that despite these trying times, his family-owned and operated store will continue to focus on excellent customer service and serving Hoosiers — a motive of the Langley family for 20 years now.
"We just try to keep it all about customer service and being responsible citizens and, ya know, doing what's best for the community and serving people with the animal feed that they need," Tony said.
The family did have to cut their part-time employees' hours but were able to keep on their full-time staff. They have about ten full-time employees.
The Orchard Country Store
Saturday: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Monday - Friday: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.