Payson Feed & Pet Supply has moved to new digs, and animal lovers and pet owners around the Rim country are reveling in the added features and conveniences.
The new facility on the southwest corner of Highway 87 and Aero Drive is just a couple blocks north of the old store, but it's a world away in terms of what it offers customers.
"Southwest Transmission was here, but we've expanded their building and added a huge warehouse and hay barn," said store manager Connie Agnes, who previously owned a pet store in Wyoming and also breeds dogs and trains horses. "We have at least twice as much space as we had before, and the other store was so chopped up into little rooms and areas."
The extra space has allowed Payson Feed to add depth to its product lines.
"We're not carrying a lot of new stuff, but adding more volume to what we had before," Agnes said. "It means more selection and better inventory as far as keeping stuff in stock."
One area Agnes is expanding is the pet department. The store already carried such critters as iguanas, parakeets, cockatiels, finches and rabbits, and just received a shipment of jumbo garter snakes, hamsters, guinea pigs and little lizards called anoles. Ferrets are on backorder.
As we talked, a local resident dropped off two fist-sized turtles that are now for sale, and rats and mice are also best sellers both as pets and as food for snakes.
Payson Feed will also take an occasional litter of kittens if somebody is having a difficult time finding homes for them.
But its outside where Payson Feed's loyal clientele may appreciate the new facility the most. Hay is now neatly stored under a roof and the drive through and loading area is a breeze to negotiate compared to the rutted, pothole-filled area behind the old store.
Longtime yard employees Joe Uptain and Casey Bennett say it makes a difference for them too.
All of this with no increase in prices. In fact, Payson Feed sells its premium dog foods cheaper than PetSmart in the Valley.
"Dog food is one of our biggest sellers," Agnes said. "We carry Science Diet, Eukanuba, Natural Choice, Iams, Pro Plan quite a selection of top dog foods.
"We have two other stores, one in Kingman and one in Apache Junction, so we can stay competitive by buying in volume." All three stores are owned by Tim Noland and Tim Stevenson who live in Apache Junction.
Other hot sellers include cob, "a mix of corn, oats and barley with a molasses spray on it that people buy to feed deer. We sell lots of deer and bird blocks for wildlife, lots of wild bird mix," Agnes said.
"And then we have lots of horse people up here, so horse products are also big sellers."
But probably the best part of the new store is that it's all made out of steel. Before Payson Feed moved to its previous location on the Beeline, it occupied the historic Winchester Saloon building on Main Street when it was gutted by fire in October 1997.