In real estate, location is everything. Everything, of course, unless your property is smack dab in the middle of one of the Florida Department of Transportation’s road widening projects.
After months of negotiation, the FDOT has purchased Harold’s Feed & Pet Supply, and the business will be closing in March.
Harold’s Feed has sat at the corner of E. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Macintosh Rd. in the city of Dover since it opened in 1972. Bill and Rhonda Burnette purchased the business from Harold more than two decades ago and changed its name to Harold’s Feed & Pet Supply.
The couple expanded the store’s product offerings. Live animals, including chicks, ducks and rabbits, made kids more excited about a visit to Harold’s than their parents. In later years, those children would come shop at the store as adults.
“Our customers were more than just people, they were like family,” said Rhonda.
Harold’s has always been a big supporter of 4-H, FFA and its community. The couple were always ready to lend a hand to a future farmer and share their knowledge with children working on showing or marketing their products.
“The children are the future of agriculture,” she said.
Rhonda has been touched to have families come in during the store’s final days to say thank you for helping teach their children about integrity, honesty and hard work.
Some of those kids also spent time as a Harold’s employee, working side by side with Rhonda’s family to welcome every customer and make each visit to the store a memorable one.
The Burnettes are required to vacate their property by Tuesday, March 31, but Rhonda said they will be finished liquidating their cages, trailers, feed, supplies and fixtures before then.
“We started the sale on February 13th and honestly don’t have much left,” she said.
She expresses appreciation for everyone who has supported their family business for the past 23 years. For her, the hardest day will be when they shut the doors on the last day and walk away. What they do next is uncertain.
“When our doors close, we will regroup and decide where to go from here,” said Rhonda. “But to our customers, we’ll never forget you.”