Chesterton Tribune



Chuck Roth celebrating 40 years at Chesterton Feed and Garden Center

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This year, 2020, marks the 40th year in business at Chesterton Feed & Garden for Chuck Roth. The store has continued to serve customers through curbside pick-up during the Covid-19 pandemic, and this week staff has set up the store to be open to shoppers, with social distancing, outdoor registers and other measures like special hours for the elderly and immunocompromised, for the safety of customers and staff.

Although Chuck was born in Chicago, his family moved to Chesterton when he was just one year old. The familyís first home in the area was about a block away from the current store. Soon the Roths (Chuck Sr. and his wife Chickie, daughter Karyn, and twins Chuck and Cindy) moved to the Wake Robin subdivision. Finally, the family moved to a home on a larger piece of land on Brummitt Road just outside of Chesterton. Here the family had room to garden. They also had both dogs and horses, and even raised various forms of poultry. Although he was an avid outdoorsman, Chuck Roth, Sr., commuted to Chicago and Elmhurst, IL, daily for his job in the lithograph industry.

Chesterton Feed and Garden, was originally on Grant Street and was called Chesterton Feed and Supply. The company was owned by the Bellman family, who provided feed and farm supplies to the surrounding community for many years. The Bellmans sold to Everette Hunt who soon sold the company to the Pliske brothers. The Pliske brothers moved the store to the current location in the mid-1950ís and brought the concept of the garden center to the store, changing the name to Chesterton Feed and Garden Center.

Miss Laverne Burchfield moved to Chesterton in 1965 after retiring from a career in government work and living in Chicago. Miss Burchfield bought the business from the Pliske brothers, and was instrumental in creating the store that exists today. She remodeled the store, and also added a Lord and Burnham greenhouse onto the front of the building.

Chuckís first job

Chuck Rothís first job was at Chesterton Feed and Garden Center. It was there that he was able to enjoy all his interests in gardening, landscaping, houseplants, animals. . .anything to do with nature. Chuck did carry-outs, weeded display gardens, grew and tended to mums, etc. He got a firm grip on how important customer service is to a business at a young age. Chuck and his father purchased the business in 1980 as Miss Burchfield had recently celebrated her 80th birthday. She entrusted the Rothís to continue the legacy of service, quality, and knowledge that the company had become known for.

During the first several years as owners of the store, Chuck Sr. still commuted to work for his job in the lithograph industry. Chuck ran the store, and his Mother (Chickie) would help out as needed. Chuckís Dad retired in the early 1990ís, and he worked at the store until he was 88! Mr. Roth Sr. passed away at the age of 90 with many fond memories of the store. He cultivated many good friendships with both the clientele and people in the Chesterton community – the place he called home.

Chuck Roth says that Chesterton Feed and Garden has survived in the era of big box retailers as a result of great service, quality products, and a knowledgeable staff. In fact, all employees are required to attend weekly meetings to learn about products, sales events, seasonal changes, etc. The company has also garnered a very loyal, treasured following. Roth notes the business has long term, like-minded employees and that this is also a key to its success. Roth expresses pride in his employees, and he is grateful that they have chosen to be a part of his respected, storied enterprise.

Roth encourages customers to learn about what they are shopping for. He encourages clientele to ask questions – both before and after a purchase. With service and values like these, it is no wonder that Chesterton Feed and Garden Center continues to thrive.

Special hours for elderly, immunocompromised

Chesterton Feed and Garden Center, at 400 Locust Street, Chesterton, is open daily, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. for elderly and immunocompromised, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the general public. On Sundays, 10 to 11 a.m. for elderly and immunocompromised, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the general public.

Customers are asked to practice social distancing while shopping. For additional information, call 926-2790.


Posted 5/7/2020




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