Twenty-eight years ago a twelve-year-old boy ran around a new store filled with food for all types of animals. Day after day, month after month and year after year the little boy returned to the feed store. Today, Rob Wicklund works at Dan’s Feed Bin in Superior, Wis.
“It’s a family business,” said Wicklund who lives in Lake Side with his wife and three children.
The store is filled with noise from screeching birds, but Rob remains soft spoken and relaxed. He wears a white shirt with the brand Eukanuba printed in the left hand corner.
“We have over 30 brands of dog food here,” said Rob as he twirls around a roll of masking tape he is holding in his hands. “We have food for all types of animals. Birds, cattle, horses, pigs…”
The family business has grown from the time when Dan Wicklund was called “Dad” to now, when Dan is called “Grandpa.” His son Rob and some of his grandchildren work there.
“I was just goofing around in the beginning,” said Rob as he reminisced of being at the feed bin when he was younger. “I just wanted to be here.”
Rob is going to take over when Dan retires. He is knowledgeable about the feeds and what kind the store needs. Right now for the fall and winter seasons, they mainly have deer feed and cattle feed.
Sounds of the cash register ring as customers pass by the feed bin staff. Customers come from all over the twin ports area. There are even a few regulars that come from Carlton to buy feed. As other feed bins dwindle and run out of business, Dan’s Feed Bin keeps gaining more customers.
Every work day, Rob gets to the store at 8:00 a.m. and doesn’t leave until the work is finished, usually around 5:00 p.m. He says he likes to get home in “time for dinner.” His life working at the store has allowed him to be a big part of his children's lives.
“Well that’s my 22-year-old son, his name is James,” said Rob as he points in the direction of a young man standing behind the counter in a camouflage Under Armor sweatshirt. “My youngest, who is 16, works here on Saturdays and my daughter who is 21 works here in the afternoon because she goes to college during the day.”
Rob’s son James will be going off to the U.S. Marine Corps on January 6, but until then he will be working with the rest of his family at the feed bin.
“Family pop in from time to time to work with us,” James said. “But they don’t last too long. Right now it’s me, my cousin Jake, my brother and my sister.”
When Rob isn’t hard at work inside the grayish blue building that has an eye-popping red trim, he enjoys working in the yard.
“I like growing onions,” Rob said. “I occasionally cook but most of the time my wife Carrie does the cooking.”
The family business has also allowed Rob to keep traditions alive that were started when the feed bin first opened. Every year they buy steers from the 4H kids at the fair. The kids put the money toward their college fund or whatever they decide to do with it.
“We just like to help the local kids,” Rob said.
The store also helps the local Humane Society. For a while when customers walked into the feed bin, there would be cages of cats down one of the aisles. The feed bin helped the Humane Society find homes for the cats.
Being helpful has proven to be lucky for him.
“Well, I met my wife at a party. Her car broke down and I drove her home,” he said as his son James smiled and shook his head at his cousin Jake working the cash register and a family friend, Eric who said he has been working at the feed bin for “way too many years.”
Rob does the stock ordering, book work and just “a little bit of everything” around the store.
“This is my everyday life,” Rob said. “I’ll probably be here forever.”