Two generations of the Click family have owned Tomlinson's Feed, which currently has 11 locations in the Greater Austin area.
The family-run business, which offers pet food, treats, leashes, beds, toys and other pet supplies, reached its 70th anniversary Jan. 1.
Tomlinson’s Feed celebrates 70 years as a family-run business.[/caption]
In 1946, T.R. Tomlinson, a resident of Jarrell, moved to Austin to open a chick hatchery at 908 E. 49 1/2 St., owner Scott Click said. Over the years, the hatchery became a feed store for cattle, horses, chickens, ducks and other livestock.
In 1971, Scott’s father, Liniel Click, bought the feed store from Tomlinson, Scott said. After realizing that people in the neighborhood were not raising livestock in their backyards anymore, the Click family changed Tomlinson’s into a wholesale bird business and pet supply retailer, he said. The bird business ceased operations in 2010, he said.
“The key to our success over the years is we’ve evolved with Austin,” Scott said.
The family also attributes the company’s success to being family-run, said Scott, who started working for Tomlinson’s Feed when he was 8 years old. He left to attend college but then returned to the business following graduation.
In a 25-year span, Scott and Liniel worked together daily and expanded the company to include multiple locations, Scott said. Although Liniel retired in 2011, Scott’s wife, Renae, and children, Brandon and Kate, continue to operate Tomlinson’s with Scott.
Under Scott's ownership, Tomlinson's expanded to 11 area locations from 2001 to the present day.
Kate, the company's brand director, said Lakeway shop stocks doggie life vests, floating toys and other pet supplies for the lake.
“It’s rare for the second generation to make a business grow,” Scott said. “It’s almost unheard of for the third generation to come in and help a business thrive. Usually, the third generation runs it down the tubes, but my son and daughter are skilled in their areas and they’re a big reason we’re growing the way we are.”
Kate, who is 26, said she has worked full-time for Tomlinson’s for the past four years.
“While I appreciate where we’ve come from in the past and the heritage that [the business has] given us, I’m really proud and excited for the future,” she said.
Core values of Tomlinson’s
Another reason Tomlinson’s has been successful for years is the implementation of eight core values, which are posted at the Austin headquarters and all 11 store locations, Director of Customer Experience Renae Click said.
1. Health: The pet’s health is the first priority.
2. Delight: Staff wants customers to leave the store in a better mood than when they came in.
3. Quality: All food sold at the stores meet a standard of quality check.
4. Team: Employees receive enough working hours, health care and access to a 401K.
5. Expertise: Team members stay up-to-date on pet nutrition.
6. Growth: The company employs 100 people locally.
7. Animal rescue: The company hosts annual pet food donation drives.
8. Trust: Tomlinson’s staff want guests to feel like family.
Sources: Kate Click, Renae Click, Tomlinson’s Feed/Community Impact Newspaper
Pound4Pound Food Drive
Each holiday season, Tomlinson’s collects food donations for animal rescue groups. In 2015 the food drive collected more than 125,000 pounds of pet food, Brand Director Kate Click said.
“As we’ve grown with Austin, and Austin has been so supportive of us, we want to return the favor,” she said.
7301 N. RR 620, Ste. 110, Austin
Hours: Mon-Sat. 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
2303 S. RR 620, Ste. 180, Lakeway
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
3300 Bee Caves Road, Ste. 370, Austin
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.