Business Spotlight: Palmer Feed Store has its niche in the community


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Palmer Feed Store has been a family business since its opening in 1947. (Photo by Katie Bray)

In 1947, Paul Palmer moved from California following the Citrus industry to Orlando. It was here where he would continue pursuing the medicinal oils of oranges. Palmer also had an odd passion for putting up fences. Luck would have it that when they settled into Orlando, there was a fence business on Church Street that was about to close up shop. Palmer’s wife told him to purchase the store to make his passions a reality.

The purchase was a success, and Palmer Tuxedo Feed (former name) opened for business.  Located in then-rural Orlando, it was the go-to store to purchase all your fencing material (mostly posts and wire) for your citrus and cattle farms. As of today, Disney is still a major purchaser of fence posts for some of its properties. Three generations later, Bill Palmer now owns and operates Palmer Feed Store.

Bill was born and raised in Orlando and spent many of his younger days working in the store while his father, Ernest Palmer, ran it. Bill took over in 1994.

“I just put in the energy to find things that people needed,” he said. “I figured anything I need at my house, people need at their house, so let’s have it in the store.”

A historical photo inside Palmer Feed. Inventory has changed throughout the years. (Photo by Katie Bray)

And that is exactly what he did. As the times changed, Palmer Feed would evolve by adding items as they were needed: fertilizer for gardening, dog food, hardware, extermination, bait and tackle, for example.

Bill loves his store and the community in which it resides, and the community certainly loves him and his store back.

“Throughout my high school years, in the early-to-mid 1980s, I spent my Saturdays, spring breaks and summers working at the Palmer Feed Store, weighing and packaging seeds, loading fence poles, hauling bags of chicken feed and so much more,” said Vance Raines, newly appointed senior pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Orlando. “For a true city boy, the feed store opened a whole new world to me, ranging from gardening to farm animals, to the realities of life on the west side of Orlando.

“Even more, the Palmers became extended family for me, shaping my growth and development as a young man and playing a pivotal role in the events leading to my call to ministry. For the Palmer family and the Palmer Feed Store experience, I will be eternally indebted and grateful.”

Bill has seen the city first-hand in its transition, which is now in its most pivotal transition with the new Major League Soccer stadium, new Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) Academic Center and Creative Village.

“It’s an exciting time. For many, many years, we thought nothing would become of this area because it was so bad,” Bill said.

Palmer Feed is only one of a handful of feed stores in the area, so many people will travel to them for their unique inventory. Some of those items include chicks, pine straw, telephone poles, bunnies, fence supplies and dog supplies (food, flea medicine, etc.). So next time you are at a soccer game or on Church Street, stop in and say hi to the Palmer Family.

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