Mooresville farm successfully shifts business model to stay afloat during pandemic

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Business is anything but usual for the Mills family at their namesake family farm.

“We’re a local beef cattle farm, so we raise and sell all natural beef,” said Nicole Mills, part owner of the farm.

She and her husband Dr. Bradley Mills primarily supplied their beef product to a chain of restaurants and grocery stores.

But when the pandemic forced many of those businesses to close, the Mills found themselves with an excess of product and no one to sell it to.

“We were getting pretty scared,” Nicole said. “We were definitely worried.”

They needed to sell roughly 1,000 pounds of ground beef per week to pay their bills, otherwise the future of the farm didn’t look too good. It was a scary thought for Dr. Mills, since his family has owned the 200 acre farm for three generations.

“The farm’s been in my family since 1935,” Dr. Mills explained.

To help keep the farm afloat, the couple shifted the business to focus on selling directly to families, instead of to businesses. Word traveled fast on social media and soon, neighbors started forming long lines outside their farm store.

“Our neighbors told us all about the family farm here,” said customer Jeff Epstein.

Epstein told Channel 9 he supported the farm for one simple reason.

“Being able to support local businesses and making sure that they stay up and running and they stay sustainable throughout this pandemic is super important,” Epstein said.

The Mills family follows COVID-19 protocols like wearing masks and social distancing. They even deliver to doorsteps. Now, business is booming.

“I think communities have pulled together, in particular our community here, and we’re very grateful,” Nicole said.

In a year filled with so much loss, the couple is grateful for all 2020 brought, too.

“This year has taught us that you’ve got to be resilient, you’ve always got to be willing to try new things, and your faith in God is always very important during times like this,” Dr. Mills said.

Click here for more information on the farm.