Tractor Supply Co. ready to serve Liberty Hill

Liberty Hill Tractor Supply Co. Store Manager Miguel Estrada stands in front of what will be the help counter when the store on Loop 332 opens next month. (Lauren Jette Photo)

Liberty Hill Tractor Supply Co. Store Manager Miguel Estrada stands in front of what will be the help counter when the store on Loop 332 opens next month. (Lauren Jette Photo)

By Lauren Jette

For area ranchers and livestock owners, the drive to buy supplies is about to get much shorter.

The Tractor Supply Co. on the east end of Loop 332 in Liberty Hill is nearing completion and is set to hold a soft and grand opening at the beginning of the new year.

Store Manager Miguel Estrada is excited to finish putting up shelves, get inventory put out and open the doors to the public, he said.

“From my understanding, it’s that Tractor Supply has been trying to get into Liberty Hill for a while,” he said.

“It’s all about being a part of the community, developing and growing with the community and that’s what our goal is—to be a part of the community and help grow the community.”

Estrada said Tractor Supply began looking to open a location in Liberty Hill after seeing how many of their customers were coming to the Cedar Park location.

“We have a lot of customers who live out here in Liberty Hill, Bertram, Burnet, a lot of the surrounding towns and they shop with us,” he said.

“Just like any other retailer, we ask for a zip code and do a zip code capture and they found out how much of our retail comes from what area. Our sister store is Cedar Park, just down the street, and just about everybody from Liberty Hill shops there. A lot of them drive in from Bertram just to pick up their feed, so that’s how we figured, you know what, this would be the perfect location to build a Tractor Supply.”

The new location is already generating excitement from locals.

“A lot of our new team members are from here and they are very excited because they don’t have to drive all the way into town now,” Estrada said. “It saves them money and a lot of time and travel.”

Tractor Supply Co. offers a variety of items from tools and safes, to clothing and livestock feed.

“We’re trying to be a one-stop shopping center for our customers,” Estrada said. “It’s going to be a lot of livestock, livestock feed, dog food, cat food, and then you’ve got a lot of your basic hand tools and power tools. If you’re a rancher, we’re going to have your gates, your panels, T-posts, wood posts. Anything pretty much to do with fencing, we’re going to carry on the side of the building.”

With the store opening, Estrada said he will employ “right around 14” team members, who are familiar with the lifestyle that Tractor Supply Co. serves.

“It’s our lifestyle. If you grew up at one point or another showing pigs, showing goats, livestock, cattle, whatnot, you kind of like it and at one point or another, you’re going to end up with an animal,” he said, noting that he has horses and a pony and was talked into three feeder pigs recently. “A lot of our team members, this is their kind of lifestyle.

“It’s very interesting, everyone’s background,” he continued. “A lot of our team members have an extensive amount of management with other retailers, but they also have a lot of prior knowledge and some direct knowledge from owning or still having some kind of animal or livestock.”

That knowledge from team members will help customers who come into the store and have questions about anything. “It’s pretty important,” Estrada said. “I hired quite a few folks that don’t know anything about farming, don’t know anything about horses or chickens, but they know a little bit about welding or they know how to use some power tools. Every one of them is unique in their own way and they bring something to the table.

“It’s very crucial, it’s very important, because if I get a customer that comes in and says, ‘you know what, I’d love a hand drill, but I don’t know which one to get. Should I go cordless or go with a cord? What’s the pros and cons?’ Then you get Joe, who is more knowledgeable about power tools and say ‘help me out with this customer’. So I encourage all my team members that whoever is there, stand there and listen and learn.”

Also available to team members is an inventory system, which can help them out.

“If we don’t know, the best part about it is we can call other stores and ask. In our system, we can pull it up and find out more about the product, the specs and whatnot, so that always helps out,” Estrada said.

Many of the team members also include local high school students, which is something that Estrada considers important.

“They are very knowledgeable. Some of them are involved with FFA and 4H. One has background in horses and showing goats, so that’s why it’s very important to reach out to the community and make sure that I’m hiring and making the right decisions of who I’m bringing in. I think it’s great that the community accepted us here and we are here to help grow the community.”

The sales floor of Tractor Supply Co. is almost 19,000 square feet, not including the back room, warehouse and side lot, Estrada said.

A soft opening is scheduled for Jan. 2, 2016, with a grand opening set for Jan. 9, with members of the Chamber of Commerce. So far, the community has been excited about the store.

“It’s been very positive. I went to the Chamber luncheon and it was great,” Estrada said. “Everybody was very welcoming so that was great.”