Landhope Farms opened its very first store in Chadds Ford/Unionville, PA at the intersection of Routes 82 and 926 in April of 1969. At that time, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had passed a law decreeing that if you produced, pasteurized, bottled and retailed milk at one location, you could price it below the State Regulated Minimum. We sold a gallon for $0.89 while the state minimum was $1.34.
My family already owned a dairy herd. The location was not as convenient as the crossroads of Routes 82 and 926. Also, that business was profitable, so we purchased a herd from Wisconsin. Pete Hufford, the farm manager, organized the purchase. Since we didn’t know how much milk we would sell, we planned for more production than we assumed sales would be.
Meanwhile, a friend of my father’s, Joe Fernandes, who owned Fernandes Friendly Markets in Massachusetts, advised us that selling only milk would not work. Joe and his staff introduced me to the convenience store concept and helped pick items to sell in addition to milk. All those items sold well.
A few months after opening, we added the manufacturing of ice cream to the mix. I went to the ice cream school at Penn State for that input. Billy Hicks of Goshenview Farms in West Chester was a huge help in that effort.
Believe it or not, supermarkets were closed on Sundays then thanks to Pennsylvania Blue Laws. That provided for a boost in sales on Sundays for us. We also sold more grocery items then, as you can imagine.
Well, that was how Landhope Farms began. We added many new services over the years – fuel, fresh deli, chicken, smoothies, fresh coffee, specialty beverages and an expanded retail area. In January 2019, we opened our newest store in Oxford, PA, which spotlights the many aspects of Landhope Farms!