By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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Ed Leitz, owner and operator of Leitz Farms Inc. at 173 Mount Pleasant Road, said he expects to have moved into the former space of Price Ford Lincoln Mercury at 1527 E. Front St. by April 8.
“So it's coming up quick,” Leitz said Thursday.
Leitz, 29, said he decided on the move from the Mount Pleasant location, the farm store's home since 2009, to take advantage of nearly twice the square footage the Front Street space offers and three times the parking space.
“We actually outgrew [the Mount Pleasant location] a couple of years ago, so it was time to expand a little bit,” Leitz said.
“This is a step up all around.”
Leitz is leasing the space, which is owned by Ray Birdwell of Lacey and valued at $1.3 million, according to the Clallam County Assessor's Office.
Price Ford Lincoln Mercury moved in January 2011 from the Front Street space to a larger property at 3311 U.S. Highway 101 just west of the Walmart Supercenter.
Leitz Farms will share the new location with Port Angeles Faith Baptist Fellowship, with the church taking up the building's show room and Leitz taking over the rest of the space.
Coincidentally, the fellowship is a sister church to Sequim Faith Baptist Church, at which Leitz is a deacon.
“It was a complete surprise to both of us,” Leitz said.
“I didn't know [Faith Baptist Fellowship] was inquiring about the building.”
Leitz said the new location also will offer better visibility for the store and more space for semi trucks that make daily deliveries of hay, feed, fertilizer and other farm supplies the store sells.
Leitz Farms will continue to offer all the farm supplies and equipment currently offered at the Mount Pleasant location, just more of them, Leitz said.
The farm store has been able to expand during the economic downturn, Leitz said, because more people seem to be learning about self-sufficiency and are buying farm supplies to grow their own food.
Leitz said his store has remained successful through a combination of competitive prices and customer service not typically found in national retail chains.
“We want to be that place where people come to ask a question and feel like they walked away with something that they didn't have before,” Leitz said.
Leitz also said he thanks God for blessing him, wife Stephanie and their six children with all they have.
Leitz, who now lives in Port Angeles, said he incorporated Leitz Farms in 2003 after selling hay out of a family barn in Carlsborg.
Leitz said the loyal customers he amassed during this time encouraged him to expand to selling other farm supplies.
“We were pushed by dozens and dozens of people to expand,” Leitz said.
“There was a need there, and we did what we could to fill it.”
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.