Tecumseh Farmer's Daughter Market to expand
In December of 2019, Tecumseh resident Deann Smith purchased and reopened the popular bakery, gift store and restaurant known as the Farmer's Daughter Market in Tecumseh.
According to Smith, she received $50,000 of economic development sales tax funds to use for her plan to expand the business, which includes an addition of 600 square feet to the kitchen, as well as more parking.
"The best thing in it is the 8 by 16-foot walk-in cooler freezer combination," Smith said.
The business owner explained she changed the hours of operation that were initially from10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday to now be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The expansion in the kitchen will help with food operations.
"We tend to go through a lot more food and we do a lot more special dishes," Smith said.
In addition, she said she will use part of the funds to expand her parking, which can be an issue during busy hours such as lunchtime.
The expansion in the kitchen has begun as the walk-in refrigerator and freezer has been installed, but is not yet operational, Smith said.
However, she explained she doesn't have a completion date for the expansion because it's still in the beginning stages. Smith also said not all the sales tax funds from Pottawatomie County will cover the expense of the expansion, so completion is also continent on additional funding.
Smith said she purchased the Farmer's Daughter Market from its previous owner because she didn't want to see it close permanently.
"It's an integral part of Tecumseh. It's too nice a store to let sit empty," Smith said.
She and her husband Jim also own Benson Park Pecans in Shawnee.
"It is a farm and we process pecans and harvest our own pecans as well as custom pecans for other people around the area," Smith said. "We have a little retail store out there and I have a retail outlet at (Farmer's Daughter Market) as well for the pecans."
Smith said the best aspect of owning the Farmer's Daughter Market has been meeting and connecting with customers.
According to Assistant Store Manager Debbie Burkhart, she loves working at the restaurant for the customers but also the camaraderie among the 20 staff members.
Burkhart said she previously worked at Benson Park Pecans and that was how she met Smith before joining the Farmer's Daughter Market team a month after the business opened.
"(Farmer's Daughter) is friendly, no doubt about it, and it's eclectic," Burkhart said. "(The staff) strives to help each other out. It's home."
The assistant manager said she does a little bit of everything and works where she's needed.
According to Manager Jeff Gallaway, he's worked at the Farmer's Daughter Market for a little over a year and he loves many aspects of his job.
"I enjoy the customers and cooking. That's probably one of my big passions — being in the kitchen," Gallaway said.
The manager said his role at the business is overseeing all the daily operations.
Gallaway said since Smith took ownership of the Farmer's Daughter Market there have been several changes, including the menu and the hours of operation.
"I think we've been able to reach a lot more of our community by extending our hours and extending the breakfast menu," Gallaway said.
According to Shawnee resident Jane Smith, she's a frequent customer of the establishment and enjoys the food and the southern charm.
"I try to come at least once or twice a month. I love the atmosphere and I must admit I won't come here and not have the brisket stew," Jane said.
Both Smith and Burkhart said the community response since the Farmer's Daughter Market reopened has been great.
Customer Dianna Horath from Sapulpa said she also loves coming to the restaurant when she's in town for the good food and atmosphere.
During the pandemic Smith said the Farmer's Daughter Market really worked on providing carry out and curbside service and continues to do so.
"COVID created a lot more carry out so that's been a challenge. You just keep using all your avenues and resources you can find to do what you have to do," Smith said.
She also said she's done everything that has been mandated and respects her customers' choice to wear masks and social distance.
Going forward, Smith said she hopes more members of the community will come to Farmer's Daughter Market and the expansion will greatly improve kitchen flow and efficiency.
For more information visit the Farmer's Daughter Market Facebook page or call (405) 598-2683.