Sterling Grant can still remember the sweet smells of grain and hay. The coffee pot was always on and hot chocolate was even provided for the kids.
But beyond those types of memories, the old Cherry Tree Farm Supply store served as a place to catch up with your neighbors.
"It was a good feeling and that's kind what we want to bring back," Sterling Grant said about the feed store that was originally started up by Floyd and Jan Keppinger. "It was always in the back of my mind. I always thought it would be neat to have a feed store."
Sterling Grant, 60, and his son, Shane Grant, 37, purchased the property and building that up until Oct. 28 had been operating as Del's Feed and Farm Supply. They both envision bringing back a feed store that small-town residents will appreciate.
"Our goal is to try to give it a hometown store feel and not have that corporate feel — that's our goal," Shane said.
Standing in the middle of an empty building last week, it was easy to share the vision. Sterling's wife, Terrie, was there along with Shane's wife, Dani. Nine-year-old Paisley and 5-year-old Stetson were running around and the family dog, Pistol, was exploring.
"The feed store was always like the hub of the community and we'd like to bring that back," Terrie said.
The store's name will be Out West Farm & Ranch and the owners are hoping to open within the first couple of months of 2018.
"Dad's talked about how it would be cool to have a feed store and having the ranch, they kinda tie in together," Shane said. "But Philomath wasn't big enough for two major feed stores."
Then word came out early this year that the Del's stores were going to be closing down around the Pacific Northwest. The Grants started poking around and doing some research while trying to keep their interest on the down low.
"Once we got the keys to the property, which was on Nov. 1, then from then on, we felt more comfortable letting everybody know," Shane said. "We put the sign up, we did that on Nov. 1."
The sign on the highway includes a message that a feed store would be returning to the location.
Both father and son have strong connections to where they will be operating a business. A Harlan rancher who lives on land originally homesteaded by an ancestor in 1871, Sterling had developed those strong connections years ago when the Keppingers were running it.
Meanwhile, Shane got his first job off the ranch at the Cherry Tree when he was 16 years old.
"I just helped pack feed out and was basically what you would consider now a warehouse employee," Shane said.
Out West Farm & Ranch contacted Del's former employees to see if they wanted their jobs back.
"The ones that wanted to continue working at the feed store, we gave them that opportunity," Shane said. "Some did, some didn't, so we're going to have a few familiar faces that were working here at Del's."
The Grants believe the feed store can generate enough business to make it a worthwhile venture.
"We all understand Philomath needs a feed store and not just us personally," Shane said. "We have been customers here for years through the different owners and it's a lot farther for us to have to drive all the way to Corvallis. This area needs a feed store."
Shane has worked for the past 13 years as a full-time firefighter and emergency medical technician with the Corvallis Fire Department. He was able to buy back a piece of land in the Harlan vicinity that had been a part of that original 1871 family homestead.