When Security Feed and Seed opened on Watauga Avenue in Johnson City in 1952 to serve the needs of area farmers, it consisted of two Quonset huts along the railroad tracks. Security Feed stores across the country were bought by Conagra Feed in 1974. However, Glen Mize, operator of the Johnson City store, was able to purchase the business and changed the name to Mize Farm & Garden. The same Mize family continues to operate the business as daughter Helen Wagner learned the day to day operation from her father.
“It was unusual for a woman to be head of a business like this and the early days of the operation were very difficult. I started working with my dad in 1979, but he kept so much of the business in his head that when he had his heart attack and I took over the company I just had to figure things out for myself. The help of long-time employees such as Sales Manager Ken Lowe, was invaluable at that time,” said Wagner.
In 2000, Mize Farm and Garden expanded its retail operations to a second store on Old Gray Station Road. The new 10,000 sf facility became an adventure to the senses, ranging from a feeling of nostalgia with bins of loose garden seed and animal feed, to a sleek updated array of horticultural goods, greenhouse, pet care products, bird feeders, saddles, tack and animal health supplies.
Mize Farm and Garden announced in 2014 that it would be consolidating its original Watauga Avenue location and employees into the larger Old Gray Station location. As the historic location transitioned into the new, a long-time customer reflected on her many years trading with Mize. “I will miss many things about this old store… the gently bruised building, cabinets, shelves and most especially the seed bins.” Said Jeanne Cope of The Joyful Gardener. “I made dozens of purchases in this wonderful shopping place.” But the move is easy “just down the road… the newer Mize Farm and Garden store has more display space, and a location surrounded by farms and gardens. The staff is friendly, helpful, and our old friends from the original store will be joining the staff”
The legacy built by Mr. Mize lives on as his daughter Helen and her team successfully continues to provide the highest quality products and service in the area. Stop in for a visit; you’ll be glad you did.