Serving Rural American Communities

OUTdrive Episode 111 with Blake Mills & David Swearingen

OUTdrive Episode 111 with Blake Mills and David Swearingen

We are coming up on the best 11 days of the year – the Missouri State Fair. One of our favorite parts of the Fair is interacting with the partners and sponsors who make it all possible. Today, I’m joined by Family Center Farm and Home co-owner and regional director Blake Mills and marketing manager David Swearingen. When Family Center Farm and Home opened their Sedalia location, becoming a sponsor with the Missouri State Fair made all the sense in the world for their marketing efforts. With a brick-and-mortar location right across from the Fairgrounds and a new e-commerce website, their business can serve folks visiting the fairgrounds year-round.

Founded in 1965 by Blake’s grandfather, Family Center Farm & Home opened its first store under the name of Tractor Parts and Home Supply in Harrisonville, MO. Now, their business serves more than just farmers, offering something for everyone from dog owners to factory workers to interior designers. The flagship store is still open and the company has expanded to six additional locations – Butler, Rolla, Ozark, Sedalia, and St. Joseph, Missouri and Paola, Kansas.

Tune into this episode to hear Blake and David discuss the marketing strategies they use to reach their rural audience, the analytics behind their store locations, and ways business owners can be more involved in their communities.

FC Saddlery and Tack
Family Center Farm and Home


  • 2:30 – Blake shares his background and how he made his way back into the family business
  • 3:45 – David talks about growing up in Illinois and his career path to Family Center
  • 4:30 – Blake shares the origin story of Family Center Farm and Home, launched by his grandfather, and how it evolved into the store it is today
  • 7:55 – Blake describes the buying process and the different industry partners they work with
  • 10:15 – David explains his marketing role and the various hats he wears within the business
  • 12:45 – Blake talks about his role and how he spends a lot of his week on the road visiting several of the locations
  • 14:00 – Blake shares the logistics behind the locations of their stores
  • 15:40- David and Blake describe what rural America means to them
  • 17:00 – David outlines what kind of marketing strategies they use to reach their rural audience
  • 18:10 – David and Blake talk about the role Family Center Farm and Home plays during the Missouri State Fair as a sponsor and the impact of fairground events on their Sedalia location
  • 21:30 – David and Blake share what they personally enjoy about the Fair
  • 22:30 – Blake gives an overview of the Saddlery and Tack branch of their business (FC Saddlery & Tack)
  • 24:45 – David talks about the development and integration of their e-commerce presence, from their website to online ordering and in-store pickups
  • 27:15 – David, Blake, and Cliff discuss changes to their rewards program and how the change in consumer buying habits has impacted their business model
  • 30:15 – David shares his thoughts for business owners and marketing managers who are stepping into the social media world
  • 32:45 – Blake gives advice on how business owners and managers can keep tabs on what is going on in the communities they serve