Where do you go when you want fresh vegetables and strawberries? Where do you go when you want those home-style jams and jellies? Krieg’s Farm Market is the place, not only can you get all of this there but you can enjoy a nice bowl of frozen custard with fresh fruits on it. Krieg’s Farm Market has been in business for a number of years and has evolved from strawberries and corn to a fully stocked seasonal market with all the fruits and vegetables that the mind can conceive.
It all started when Gary Krieg, the owner of the farm market was a young boy. His father had a produce delivery business, not only did they grow their own produce but they delivered it to the customers’ right at their doorstep weekly. Gary expressed to the group during the interview that he loved the personal interaction and the relationship that he developed with the individuals. It was a cause that he believed in and something that he felt empowered about when he got out of bed in the morning. He said that his father told him that everyone will need a doctor, a lawyer, and a policeman at least once in their life but no matter what, they will need a farmer three times a day. This was the moment that Gary knew he wanted to work in the produce industry at some point in his life.
Another thing that Gary said, and put an emphasis on, was the fact that he always saw his father work on his own time, and he decided that he liked the time that his father had to spend with him growing up as he was a young boy. He wanted the same freedom; he wanted the power to make decisions that one wouldn’t have when working for another. This was when he knew he wanted to be his own boss.
When Gary was in high school he was drafted into the military. This was a learning experience for him as he learned to take orders and work with others. In the military he acquired a skill that allowed him to make a little extra money on the side, allowing the entrepreneur in him to come out, he resorted to cutting hair. This provided some stress relief for him and allowed him to gather his thoughts on not only business and his family but the culmination of his life and what he wanted to get out of it.
When he left the military he decided to go to barber school and pursue a professional career as a barber. He soon escalated to owning two different shops and had eight barbers under him. He found a target niche and worked to grow in that specializing in haircuts for lawyers, doctors, and other business professionals who were willing to pay the extra ten dollars for a longer more precise and closer cut. Soon after he decided to sell off the business he bought a piece of property. He then wanted to farm it, so he started farming something that there was a demand for in the local area of Vermillion, that is strawberries. For a couple of years he farmed strawberries and added asparagus and sold from a roadside stand. Over time from adding new products he has evolved into a April through November market and employs nearly twenty employees.
One of the main attractions at Krieg’s Farm Market is his frozen custard stand. There are often lines out to the road from the stand; it is a popular place to go for an older generation as well as attracting a crowd of high school students to come out in the summer and late spring or early fall to get a sweet treat. As a sign of hospitality and a kind gesture Krieg’s Farm Market hosts a free ice cream day for the orphans from a local orphanage where the kids are paraded to the market by police cruisers and given free ice cream. This helps for a limited amount of publicity but earns respect with the local community and establishes a solid and friendly reputation.
This story of a young man growing and learning to a middle aged adult is the response that was given to us when asking questions about starting a business and why. The answers to what he wanted out of a business, and many other questions such as where…