Be Local By Experiencing Convenience and Friendly Service at Porterfield’s Drive-Thru
Porterfield’s Drive Thru Farm & Garden on Rehm Road off U.S. 40 just east of St. Clairsville has earned recognition and loyal customers from near and far since owner Kirke Porterfield started the business in 1991.
Porterfield said he draws on deep roots and a farming tradition in serving the area’s agricultural needs.
“We’ve farmed forever. My family started farming in Belmont County in 1809, so I continued. Then we started selling fertilizer, seed corn, and different things. Then we had an opportunity with this property here in town and we started with birdseed, grass seed, straw and dog food,” he said.
The business expanded over the years as Porterfield remained on the lookout for more items and services.
“When something’s your passion and you start a business for it, you’re hungry for that. That’s what you like to do,” he said.
Along with a variety of products, the convenience and speedy service also sets the store apart.
“The drive-through makes it nice. You don’t have to get out of your car. You can drive through and say ‘I need a bag of birdseed or a bag of grass seed’ or whatever, and you’re on your way. Or you can park in front and come in and talk about what you’re working on.”
In terms of variety, he said customers range from large farmers, part-time farmers or simply locals who live in town and enjoy feeding birds. Porterfield pointed out bales of straw and hay, barbed wire, pro mix, and diesel fuel heaters as some of the items local residents purchase.
“We have a nice … customer base,” he said. “For the bad weather, we sell a lot of salt … and also skids to the fellows that plow snow for different businesses. They stop and we know them. We know their name and we know their truck and we see them pulling in and we’re on the forklift. In the big box stores it takes a long time to get loaded and on to the next job.”
Porterfield said the quality of customer service at the local level is a guiding principle at his business.
“We try to take care of people as soon as they come in. If we don’t have what they need, we have resources to get a lot of different types of feed,” he said.
“We unload stuff for people,” he said. “It can’t be delivered to their home: they’ll use our address and we’ll unload it and they’ll come over and pick it up.”
The feed store has three employees. Katrina Reynolds, a six-year employee, has gotten to know Porterfield and the regulars.
“Kirke is a good guy. He would do anything for anybody,” she said. “I love my job. I love the customers. Our customers are great to me. I’ve gotten Christmas gifts from our regular customers. … The customers are wonderful. That’s what keeps me coming back every day.”
Reynolds said the store does considerable repeat business.
“Ninety percent of them are my regulars,” she said. “There’s a lot of them, but I know what they want, so I’m already waiting by the skid when they pull in.”
Community involvement is another priority for Porterfield. Most recently through his membership in the St. Clairsville Rotary Club, he has helped arrange for banners honoring veterans to be hung on city poles. He also serves on community boards.
Along with local buyers, Porterfield also supplies material to oil and gas interests.
In addition, Porterfield is introducing the local area to a southern staple in coffee, carrying Community Coffee out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He added this is a favorite among oil and gas workers who come from the south.
Along with the store, Porterfield works to keep his family’s agricultural tradition alive. One of his sons maintains Porterfield’s Fabrication Services on the farm northwest of St. Clairsville and manufactures items for local farmers and the oil and gas businesses. Another son operates the farm and 400 beef cows.
“We sell meat from our own cows here at the feed store,” he said. “It’s all hamburger. It’s all natural. No drugs or hormones … you can tell the difference.”
Porterfield is also known for Kirke’s Homemade Ice Cream, located above the feed store and active since 1992.
“Ice cream’s a great business. It’s enjoyable,” he said. “It’s our own recipe.”
The drive-through is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The store is closed Sundays. For more information, call 740-695-6234.
The drive-through and ice cream stores are part of the Be Local network of local businesses. Be Local is the region’s premier shop local promotion and education network.
This program is dedicated to strengthening the region’s economy and promoting locally-owned, independent businesses by educating residents and visitors about the importance of shopping local.
The 2020 Be Local Network includes a number of businesses from West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Shoppers can purchase a Be Local discount card at participating locations, which can be found at belocal.net.
The card can be used for a variety of discounts at area businesses that are part of the Be Local network. For more information, visit belocal.net.