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New store opens door to past with supplies for urban farmers

By: RICH LADEN
July 31, 2012
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photo - Going to Buckley's Homestead Supply is like stepping back in time. Allison and Ed Buckley started the store in late June. It's become a family affair for them and their children, Eddie and Hadley.  Photo by JERILEE BENNETT, THE GAZETTE
Going to Buckley's Homestead Supply is like stepping back in time. Allison and Ed Buckley started the store in late June. It's become a family affair for them and their children, Eddie and Hadley. Photo by JERILEE BENNETT, THE GAZETTE 

Historic preservation isn’t just about maintaining old buildings; it’s about holding on to treasured lifestyles, too.

In late June, Ed and Allison Buckley opened Buckley’s Homestead Supply, a small homestead supply and livestock feed store on Colorado Springs’ west side where customers can find the kinds of items that might have been sold in a general store a century ago.

There are supplies to make cheese, soap and yogurt; canning and fermenting supplies; butter churns; laundry washboards; butter keepers and honey pots; and even a hand-crank apple peeler. There’s livestock feed for rabbits, goats and chickens, and feeders, hoof trimmers and wormers for other livestock.

With so-called urban farming gaining in popularity, the Buckleys’ store at 1501 W. Colorado Ave. caters to area residents who grow their own produce in home gardens, raise chickens in backyards or can their own fruits and veggies — just as homesteaders once did.

“I’m really passionate about preserving these skills before they’re lost,” Allison Buckley said. “There’s so much I could have learned from my grandparents that I can’t now, because they’re both dead.”

Allison Buckley is a science teacher for Colorado Springs School District 11’s online school known as Achieve K12; Ed Buckley is a warehouse employee at Sinton Dairy in the Springs. For nine years, they have grown produce in their backyard garden on the west side — tomatoes, corn, squash and peppers, among other items — and appreciate knowing where the food comes from. About a year ago, they added chickens, and now have about 10 they raise for eggs and for eating.

Translating their urban farming interests to a retail store is a big step, Allison acknowledged, but one they think will work.

The store, slightly less than 1,000 square feet, is tiny by retail standards; a typical Walgreens is 15,000 square feet and a Wal-Mart Supercenter is about 200,000 square feet.
The Buckleys have no employees; Allison Buckley opens and runs the store in the morning and her husband takes over later in the day — making it a classic mom-and-pop operation.

While livestock feed is available at several area retailers, many of the homestead supplies the Buckleys carry often are found only on the Internet. A bricks-and-mortar store will provide consumers with the chance to come in instead of ordering and waiting several days for delivery, Allison Buckley said.

“We supply everything you need to be more self-sufficient,” she said. “You can make your stuff at home instead of going out to buy it. We’re here to support urban farmers.”

The store has relied on word-of-mouth advertising, but business has been solid so far, Allison Buckley said.

“Everybody has their own reason why they do this,” she said of urban farming. “Some people like these things because they would like to be prepared in case of some disaster. For me, it’s about knowing where my food comes from and knowing that it’s not gmo food (genetically modified organisms) and knowing there aren’t preservatives in it and knowing that the chickens that we eat and the eggs that we eat are cruelty free.

“For me,” she added, “it boils down to a simpler, slower lifestyle.”

Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228 Twitter @richladen
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