Four decades and still going strong
Paul Bounds Inc. has been supplying the farm and garden needs of Pearl River County residents for more than 40 years.
While the business has seen a shift from farming supplies to gardening supplies, the family owned business has many long time customers.
Owner Randy Bounds said his father started the business at their farm in Hancock County. After about ten years, his father moved the business to its current location on South Main Street in 1974.
Back in the ‘70s there were many farms in the county, so the business sold a lot of farming supplies.
When the business started in the ‘70s Bounds said there was no price per bag of fertilizer, the price was by the ton. Today, there is no price per ton, only by the bag.
He attributes the shift from farming to gardening to several factors. One factor is the age of farmers continued to advance while young people chose other professions. Second, the practice of selling farmland to create subdivisions took a toll.
“You see a lot of subdivisions in the county,” Bounds said. “A lot of those used to have animals on them,” Bounds said.
Another aspect is the increasing price to start a farm. Bounds said in the ‘70s a prospective farmer could purchase everything they would need to start a farm, minus the land, for the price of one of today’s tractors.
Bounds took ownership of the business in 1993, but it was not until the early 2000s that he noticed home gardening begin to increase to where it is today.
Bounds attributes the shift to home gardening to recalls of commercial fruits and vegetables, prompting people to grow their own food.
In addition to gardening supplies, the store sells many seasonal items, including chicks, ducklings and poults along with flowers, seeds, fruits and vegetable plants and pet supplies.
A lot of new gardeners are turning to raised bed gardens. Bounds said they allow people to grow food in otherwise poor soil. The idea is to create a small section of their yard to hold rich topsoil, and avoid the investments of a tractor or tiller. In these beds people can raise plants such as tomatoes, peppers and squash, Bounds said.
His favorite part of the business is seeing his long time customers. Bounds said he has a large loyal customer base; some who he saw make the transition from large scale farming to home gardening. However, he said he still sells products to about 40 to 50 farmers.
Most of his staff is made up of home gardeners who also care for a number of different animals. His staff’s experience allows them to effectively help customers find the products they need to solve everyday gardening or pet care problems.
The store is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bounds said he runs the business with help from his son and co-owner Dustin Bounds.