The Local Exchange: Feed store owner cares for animals, people of International Falls

Published: Jul. 11, 2022 at 9:33 AM CDT
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INTERNATIONAL FALLS, MN. (KBJR) - With 25 years of experience at a vet clinic, Shelly Morin knows a thing or two about animals.

“I’ve always had animals,” Morin said. “My grandpa had a farm, so I was always on a farm that had horses took care of cattle, all that.”

Her love for critters is now displayed as the owner of International Falls Farm and Garden.

From feed to halters, ropes, and treats, Morin has it all.

“I used to say, ‘We have everything from A to Z for animals,’ but I don’t have a zebra in town anymore so we don’t get zebra food,” she said. “A friend of mine had a zebra, yes.”

Having this store has been fun but definitely not easy.

Because the store is not located right next to a large body of water, flood insurance was not on Morin’s radar. That is until a couple of years ago when heavy rainfall brought water pouring in from the streets into the store causing thousands of dollars in damage.

“When I flooded in here we flooded really bad, it was right up to the edge,” Morin said. “I mean I lost up to $7,000 just in seed that I had. I had just got it. We had it on pallets in here, but it was over the pallets, so I lost all of that. Everybody they had a benefit for me trying to get all of that back, which was very nice.”

That benefit hosted by Morin’s friends helped her get financially back on her feet.

“We need her big time,” Nicole Gartzke, Morin’s employee, said. “When the store flooded, the overwhelming support that happened, it’s like more than anything our animals need her.”

It was overwhelming support for someone who earned it.

“She’s a very vital key part to our community,” Gartzke said. “Yeah, we’ve got Menard’s, but they’re just workers there. You need the knowledge and the wanting to help all these people and the animals.”

The community was there for Morin during the flood and even more hardships.

“My husband passed away this last December, so having the store kicks you right through that,” she said.

This store is more than just a place to care for animals; it cares for people through laughter, love, and even some tears.

“Well we got to come in and talk,” Morin said. “I buy donuts. It’s just a place to come and socialize. They come and visit. Bring their critters in.”

Shelly loves animals a lot, but if you hang around her store long enough, you will see she loves people just a little bit more.

“She’s got the biggest heart out of anybody I’ve ever known,” Gartzke said. “She goes above and beyond for everybody. Definitely a great person.”

One of Morin’s favorite parts of the job is all the pets that accompany their owners when buying supplies.

She takes a picture of just about every dog that walks through her door.

They are all posted on the store’s Facebook page if you want to check them out.

If there is a small business that has left a big impact on your community, you can nominate them for this segment by sending an email to

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