Planners laud proposed farm store design concept

By Karen Brainard

Competition can be good for business, said one Ramona Community Planning Group member after seeing a proposal for a Tractor Supply Company store at Main and Hunter streets.

Developer Steve Powell points out the Main Street facade to resemble different shops, designed by Architect Carole Wylie, for a proposed Tractor Supply Company store. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

Developer Steve Powell and Architect Carole Wylie, both from Ramona, along with their client, Haymes Snedeker from Alabama, presented preliminary plans for a Tractor Supply Company (TSC) store at the planning group’s May 2 meeting. Powell said they were looking for feedback.

Snedeker, who develops buildings to lease to Tennessee-based Tractor Supply, said this is the first time he is doing business in California.

“I want to make sure you guys know who’s going to own it,” Snedeker said. “I’m the one who’s going to stand behind it if there is a problem.”

TSC sells such items as horse, pet, livestock, lawn and garden supplies; clothing and footwear; and trailer parts, fencing, and power and hand tools.

While Wylie and Powell were complimented on their design to blend the store with Ramona’s rural character, concern was raised that such a store could put others out of business.

Wayne Elston, owner of Elston’s Hay and Grain directly across Main Street from the proposed site, said Tractor Supply’s product mix will affect at least a dozen businesses in town, including welding, irrigation and hardware stores.

“Get on the website and look at the product mix,” he said. “It is a beautiful store, but I guarantee you this pie is only so big in Ramona. People are not going to drive up 67 to a Tractor Supply.”

“They are going to be priced really competitively. Don’t mean to be rude but their service is horrible,” Elston said, adding that he has been in Tractor Supply stores around the country with his son during rodeo events.

Haymes Snedeker, who wants to build a structure at Main and Hunter streets for a Tractor Supply Company store, answers questions from planning group members. In the background are the Hunter, Vermont, and Rotanzi street elevations for the store. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

The business owner said he spends half his day answering people’s questions.

“It’s a big box,” he said of TSC.

Snedeker responded, “In my experience the store and what it sells will complement the other stores here.”

Planning group member Jim Cooper said he liked the plan.

“But I think that rather than looking at it negatively, I think the competition will cause people to step up their game and maybe that’s good,” said Cooper. “And, in fact, it might bring some drivers up from Poway and Escondido and bring a little money in.”

Wylie and Powell displayed their plans for a 20,000-square-foot building on four acres that would follow the form-based codes and design standards in the Ramona Village Design Group’s draft Village Core Document.

So the colonnade eucalyptus trees on Main Street would not be disrupted, access to the store is proposed from Hunter Street, which would be improved along with the portion of  Vermont Street bordering the north side of the property. Among landscape features is a trail on the west side of Hunter Street and a 10-foot-wide meandering decomposed granite pathway along Main Street.

The most exciting aspect, Powell said, is the Main Street elevation with an American farmhouse-look that resembles images similar to what AMCAL is proposing for affordable housing behind Kmart (see article, page ??).

The elevation “looks more like a rural town,” said Powell. “These elevations or these facades undulate in and out, 2 feet, 3 feet, 5 feet, they have obviously varying heights. It looks like a street scene or building scape.”

The height of the store is masked below the height of the “town,” Powell said. Signage with different colors and fonts on the facades may refer to products sold as part of the architectural character to resemble different shops, he added.

Planning group member Carl Hickman, chair of group’s Transportation and Trails Subcommittee, said subcommittee members discussed the proposed trails and pathways incorporated into the design, and “overall the committee is pretty pleased with the project.”

“It’s one of the best designed projects I’ve seen in a very long time,” commented RCPG member Torry Brean.

Chair Jim Piva complimented Wylie on the design and layout of the building. “It can only enhance our Main Street,” he said.

Planner Eb Hogervorst noted that in addition to Elston’s across the street, Kahoots Pet and Feed store plans to build a new store at Main and Letton streets, and asked Snedeker if the market study showed there are enough people to validate a Tractor Supply store.

Snedeker said market analysts say there is a trade area outside Ramona that brings people into town.

“The pie is getting bigger,” he said.

Matt Deskovick, an RCPG member and owner of Catt Farm and Ranch Supply, said he has been in TSC stores in other areas of California during rodeo events and suggested the Ramona plans include parking spaces big enough for trailers.

Because the plans are conceptual, no vote was required by the planning group.

Related posts:

  1. Developer proposes Tractor Supply store for Ramona at Main and Hunter
  2. Proposed solar farm poses dilemma for planners
  3. Planners reject environmental docs for solar farm
  4. Planners, residents voice concerns about solar farm
  5. Planners critique affordable housing proposed behind Kmart

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Posted by Staff on May 7 2013. Filed under Featured Story, News, Ramona. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

11 Comments for “Planners laud proposed farm store design concept”

  1. hal9000

    AWESOME! Ramona needs this in a big way. The store that carries tractor supplies up here is a joke. Minimal stock on hand, awful customer service and owners who put little effort into taking care of their "customers" after the sale. All of those out there who have had to deal with this guy know what I'm talking about. Once they've got your money, GOOD LUCK! Totally UNPROFESSIONAL. More concerned with going to rodeos than honoring their committments.

  2. Hal Grumman

    I do not wish to be negative, but every time I read one of these very well written stories regarding the opinions of the Ramona planning group, I always ask myself the same question … great, but so what?

    The planning group seems to be a well meaning group of our neighbors, but they have no power, their comments are usually non sequiturs and their opinions do not really reflect the community.

    The county of san diego makes all of the decisions and has all of the power. The county regularly ignores whatever letters the planning folks send them. Can the sentinel please send a reporter to the county planning group or the county board of supervisors and report on issues that impact us? I think this would be much more informative.

    Maybe the planning group can post a summary on a website and the community can help them with our input on their ideas?

  3. guest

    The design proposals sound really great! I just have one question-why do some businesses have to go through that process and others seem to be able to put up any old signage, color, etc?

  4. newbie (19 years)

    That's because the businesses can just do what they want. Take Kentucky Fried Chicken for example. Design Review said no to the bucket; the owner just went ahead and left it there. Nothing happens. Another good example is the apartment complex behind the Stars Station. That guy started it as a condo project, found out there were many more requirements for condos, and switched it to an apartment complex. Never showed to planning group meetings; Design Review made recommendations. All ignored. He gets his permits signed off. Planning group says no to solar project. Bryan Woods / County approves it.

  5. hal9000

    KFC bucket has been there a long time. He just likes to have the bucket there as a thorn in the side of the review board. They are arbitrary and capricious in there decisions. My problem is that RPG is made up of other business people. Seems too much a conflict of interest when voting on proposals for new businesses that might compete. I know of specefic instances when a RPG member has voted NO on projects involving competition.

  6. Tiffany

    Much NEEDED!!! I hope they vote on this and it passes. Ramona needs competition and a way to get some things cheaper. Plus, they carry more than just tractor supplies. Also a great place to shop for cute country stuff for the home! I wish they would update on the plans so far!!!

  7. Kris Taylor

    Absolutely. Get this store. Its very much needed and I guarantee people will come up the 67 or the 78 for this store. The next closest one is in Bakersfield. It would be a massive upgrade to our degrading Main Street too. Time to clean up our town.

  8. guest

    In regards to the "small pie" in Ramona, that is why people leave town and go to surrounding areas to shop. People want more to select from and a competitive price. If the town cannot provide that, people will go elsewhere.

  9. guest

    I use to live in Red Bluff Ca and a Tractor Store opened up there. None of the Feed Stores were affected. If you have GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE your customers will stay with you.

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