Country Feed Barn to close Dec. 31

Country Feed Barn to close Dec. 31Norma and the late LeRoy Marquardt stand on either side of renowned painter Larry Zabel. The coupled owned many of Zabel’s original painting, which celebrate patriotic, western and high- desert scenes. According to their daughter, the family plans to sell some of those paintings at a future date. — Photo by Laura Austin

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Submitted by PATTI FRANKLIN

News Review Contributor

The Country Feed Barn in Inyokern, founded by Norma and the late LeRoy Marquardt, will close its doors on Dec. 31, after 43 years of providing service, friendliness, and quality merchandise to its community and friends.

Country Feed Barn originated in 1973 in a single room next to a laundromat on the main street of Inyokern. Norma and LeRoy had started building their dream house at the base of Highway 14 outside of Inyokern.

As they began this process, they realized the lack of convenient access to affordable building supplies in Inyokern.

As a result, they ordered building supplies from outside sources to meet the needs of homeowners who also had a dream to build.

Initially Norma ran the business part-time as LeRoy continued his career at China Lake.

As their dream expanded, so did their business. LeRoy constructed the current Country Feed Barn building himself and it opened its doors in 1975. After he retired from civil service, he joined Norma in running the business full-time.

Over the years the business expanded from building supplies to western clothing and supplies, custom-made boots and shoes, Carhartt clothing, jewelry and antiques. Feed and care items for animals, horse tack, housewares, collectibles and even at one point baby chicks and ducks for Easter could be found at the store.

It wasn’t unusual to see LeRoy in his flatbed truck out hauling and delivering hay to his customers. He loved what he did, and he always had a smile on his face and his “Country Feed Barn” hat on his head.

After LeRoy died in 2013, Norma kept running the store without him until health issues made it difficult for her to continue.

Customers said it just didn’t have the same “Mom and Pop” atmosphere without the couple both alive and well greeting their customers with smiles.

The Marquardt daughters, Patti and Cindy, have chosen to honor their parents by having a huge sale throughout the month of December and closing the doors to the Country Feed Barn for good.

A dream, an amazing work ethic, and love for a community started this business, and satisfied customers will not forget it. Many term it the end of an era in the Indian Wells Valley.

Story First Published: 2018-12-21