Ness Farm Supply in Maxwell is officially under new ownership.
Trever Birchmier, a lifelong Maxwell resident and 2011 graduate of Collins-Maxwell, took over as the new owner on Dec. 22 and officially opened for business under the name of “Central Iowa Shortline” on Jan. 22.
Birchmier, who lives south of Maxwell and farms 2,800 acres with his dad and grandfather, says the business will continue to offer the same products on the shelves that it has traditionally offered to the town for over 60 years, along with a line of heavy-duty hay and livestock equipment.
“I wanted to keep the shop for the people of Maxwell because it’s a nice service for them,” said Birchmier. “It’s nice to be able to offer parts you don’t have to drive to Ames and Ankeny for. You’d be amazed how many plumbing supplies you sell out of here.”
The shelves in the 100-year old building include many of the same items found in most major hardware and farm supply stores. While a large inventory of parts and supplies would be intimidating to most people, Trever was such a frequent customer that there haven’t been many surprises.
“There are not many products on the shelves or customers that come in that I’m not familiar with,” said Birchmier, who says the biggest challenge has been to get the entire inventory onto new computer software. Trever says he is thankful he still has the assistance of the previous owner, Paul Ness, who comes in and works every day. There is also a part-time welder on staff.
While the retail side of the business will remain intact, Trever’s main role will be focused on sales of feed wagons and bailers—some of which are on display on the corner lot. Birchmier is a licensed dealer for manufacturers such as McHale, Jay-Lor, Teagle, and Blu-Jet. Equipment bailers are one of their biggest selling items, along with a lot of livestock equipment, and he has clientele from a 150-mile radius.
Trever is married to another local, Mackenzi, who grew up in Collins and is a fellow graduate of the 2011 Collins-Maxwell class. The two, who were high school sweethearts, have been married for three years. Mackenzi stays busy full-time with the Birchmier’s poultry business, featuring 40,000 chickens that produce 33,000 eggs per day.
Birchmier admits that running a hardware store and a poultry business, along with farming nearly 3,000 acres, is a difficult juggling act. He wants to use the first year as a transition year before he thinks about making too many changes.
“I told the owner a couple of years ago, if he ever thought about selling it, I may be interested,” said Trever. “One of the biggest reasons we were interested was that we didn’t know what we would do without it.”
Now, thanks to the Birchmier’s, neither do the rest of Maxwell’s residents.