If you go
What: Yampa Valley Feeds
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: 198 E. Lincoln Ave., Hayden
Hayden Tammie Delaney and Sandy Messing have caught a little bit of flak from the old-timers who patronize Yampa Valley Feeds in Hayden.
The two women are running the feed, tack and ranch supply store, which Tammie and Patrick Delaney took ownership of Jan. 1. Doug Meacham had run Yampa Valley Feeds, also known as the Hayden granary or the grain elevator. Under his eye, the store was a smoky gathering place for good ol' boys.
The Delaneys and Messing banned smoking, painted and changed the wallpaper.
"But we didn't put pink or purple polka-dots up," Messing said.
The new owners want to keep the community vibe strong. They offer sitting space, coffee and treats, and they're planning a grand reopening the weekend of April 18 to coincide with the North Western Colorado Bull Sale. They hope to include a barn dance in that celebration, the women said.
In the meantime, they're checking inventory, reorganizing and clearing out the warehouse. Through their work, they've uncovered antique signs, a pool table and other relics of Hayden's past.
The Delaneys' decision to buy the store and granary was tied closely to their love of local history.
"It was the ability to see this type of a store continue," Patrick Delaney said. "It's the fact that we are historic preservation wackos."
Patrick Delaney is on the Historic Routt County Board. Tammie Delaney is involved with Vision 2030 and promoting cultural heritage tourism.
Jan Leslie, who volunteers at the Hayden Heritage Center, compiled the story of the elevator. The rusted metal buildings a block from Jefferson Avenue began as the Hayden Co-Operative Elevator in fall 1917. The Hayden Farmers Union shipped grain and feed from the granary.
An article in the Dec. 14, 1917, edition of The Routt County Republican described it:
"The farmers have constructed a first-class elevator on the street just west of the church and near the railroad track. This elevator is completely covered with sheet iron, has a fire-proof engine room and the power is furnished by a 10 horse poser [sic] gasoline engine. The capacity of the elevator is about 11,000 bushels."
The granary has passed through several hands. Names attached to it in Leslie's history include Hockett, Peroulis, Barnes and Camilletti. Meacham took over in 1992 and held a grand opening for Yampa Valley Feeds in April 1993. His saddle-making business eventually will have a home in the warehouse.
Now, the granary and store are stocked with the Delaney and Messing families. Millie Delaney, 11, Liam Delaney, 13, and Messing's daughter, Karyn Forbes, 8, buzzed around the shop after school Thursday. Robert Bowes, the Delaneys' nephew from Vermont, worked in the warehouse. Even border collies Mimi and Lucky trotted around, hunting for attention.
"The whole thing about this place to me, the history is so special," Tammie Delaney said. "Everyone who's been here more than a generation has some connection. : From a heritage standpoint, it's absolutely essential that these places are maintained."
Plans for the granary
Although the building is creeping up on its 100th birthday, it hasn't outlived its usefulness, Patrick Delaney said.
"It honors our past to keep (historical structures) up to date and useful for today's world," he said. "And part of that is you can't build things like this now."
The Delaneys bought it as the Hayden Granary LLC, and the store is Yampa Valley Feeds. Messing is a partner in the store segment. The owners offer a variety of feed and aim to stock products that are as local as possible, Tammie Delaney said. They sell Profile Show Feeds products, for example. A Fort Collins family runs that company.
Delaney is active with Northwest Colorado Products, so the local aspect is particularly important to her.
"I think being a small feed store gives us the opportunity to do more local, regional sourcing that's hard to do with a larger scope," Delaney said.
They plan to have a plant sale and plant exchange in May as well as an artisans market. Yampa Valley Feeds already has hosted a Hayden Garden Club, and the owners intend to host more gatherings.
The Delaneys and Messing also plan to help 4-H members by offering consignment tack, show clothes and saddles, as well as starter kits for children who want to learn English horseback riding.
"We want to complement other things you can get in Hayden; we don't necessarily want to compete," Patrick Delaney said.
The Delaneys have a ranch in Hayden, and this is their first attempt at retail. Messing said she worked in a tack shop growing up in New Jersey. Meacham still is involved and has helped the new owners manage inventory and make the transition.
The old-timers are getting used to all those changes. Some things, however, are still what you might call "vintage." The owners showed off old-style scales, a chalkboard with decades-old prices and an adding machine. And they're not quite ready to accept credit cards.
"Right now, it's cash and carry," Messing joked.
The hope, ultimately, is to promote the community, local products, agriculture and history at the landmark site. Messing and the Delaneys are passionate about the task they're taking on. After all, it's Hayden's history.
"To me," Tammie Delaney said, "it connects past to present to future."