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Owner Don Spearman, right, staff member Sara Langenegger, and the Double D Dog Pound. (Teresa Lemon - Daily Press)

Owner Don Spearman, right, staff member Sara Langenegger, and the Double D Dog Pound. (Teresa Lemon – Daily Press)

(Teresa Lemon - Daily Press)

(Teresa Lemon – Daily Press)

After being ushered into the parking lot by a canine welcoming committee, customers at Double D Animal Nutrition and Supply know they can expect three things: quality feed, quality service, and quality conversation.

As the sign above the counter plainly states, “Feed bought and sold, lies and stories swapped and told.”

“It’s amazing what you learn here,” co-owner Don Spearman muses.

Spearman, who runs the business along with son Duston Spearman, opened the feed store at 510 W. Richey Ave. on Jan. 3, 2003, though its roots go deeper than that.

Duston Spearman points out the framework for the enterprise was actually his FFA agribusiness project at Carlsbad High School. After finding some quality feed for his show pigs, others expressed interest in the product, and he was soon selling the feed out of his family’s garage.

The store is also a labor of love for Don Spearman, who fulfilled a lifelong dream with its opening.

“When I was a senior in high school in the FFA program, I worked at a feed store in Hereford, Texas,” Spearman says.

The owner of that store had a knowledge of animals and their nutrition, as well as a positive influence on his young employee.

“I enjoyed it so much, I’ve carried that passion for the rest of my life,” Spearman says. “I’ve never got away from animals, I’ve never got away from the 4-H and FFA programs. And after working 35 years at the potash mine for corporate America, I decided I wanted to be on my own.

“No morning meetings, no plan of the day – let’s just go see what happens at the feed store.”

The Spearmans have quickly established Double D as not only a trusted supplier of items such as feed, supplements, non-prescription medicines, equipment, pest control and care necessities but a place customers can relax and catch up.

“I wanted it to be an old environment, country style, where people could come visit and feel welcome,” says Spearman. “It’s old, it’s ugly, it’s decrepit like me, but it’s a fun place.”

Duston Spearman also stresses that if Double D doesn’t have what customers are looking for, they can find it, usually within just a few days.

In fact, the store keeps a bag of reindeer feed on hand and brings it out of storage every Christmas – just in case.

Nearing their 13-year anniversary, the Spearmans’ future plans include simply continuing to serve the needs of Artesians who both depend upon and care about their animals for as long as they are able.

“One thing that everybody that works here and everybody that comes in here has in common is they want to care for their animals the best that they can, the best that they can afford,” Don Spearman says. “And we try to fit all budgets, and just try to be a fun place to be.”