by M.T. Decker
For fifteen years, Butler Farm Market has been known for selling quality local produce, landscaping material, plants, and outdoor furniture. For them, the market was more than a business, it was a place to meet their neighbors and supply their community with quality, locally grown produce. In the process of building their business, they created so much more; their customers and employees became family.
On March 8th, 2018 the Butler’s announced they had sold the market, claiming that they were starting a new phase in their lives. The sale was not the end of the story for Butler’s Farm Market and the Butler family; it was just the start of a new chapter for the Butler’s and the market.
Deciding to sell a business built with love is not an easy thing to do, especially when you consider your employees and customers family. You want to do right by them, so when they decided to sell the market the Butlers made sure they found an owner who would not only appreciate what they had created, but someone who understood the business and would preserve what they created.
They needed someone who not only understood the business but someone who would fit in with the existing business and care for their customers with the same love and respect the Butler’s had given.
They wanted the business to continue to grow while caring for the family they had created.
In their search, they found Dwight Diller and his wife, Christina.
Dwight had practically grown up in the farm store his parents owned, and owning a Farm Store of his own is a dream come true for Dwight. Not only is he doing what he loves, but he’s also sharing it with his family.
Dwight knew how important caring for the customers was to the Butler’s and Dwight wants to make sure that his customers are happy with the quality and value of their products.
“I believe the customer is always right,” Dwight stated. More importantly, he wants to make sure that the customers have what they want and that the market grows with their wants and needs.
To do this, they have a simple plan: preserve what the Butlers had built, learn what the community wants, and grow to meet and exceed their needs.
“We have taken nothing away,” Dwight stated, and they have no intention of doing so.
In fact, in honor of what the Butlers’ had created, they also kept the name ‘Butler’s Farm Market’ and still employ many of the same people.
“I’ve been told that Butler’s Farm Market, wouldn’t be Butler’s without Dave,” Dwight stated as he introduced me to the man in question.
Dave laughed at this and made sure I knew that Jenny and Monville were still working there, along with the Dillers and their children. “We still focus on the customer.
“The only thing that’s really changed,” Dwight confided, “is the family running it.”
While the pies are packaged differently, they are the same pies sold by the Butlers. They are still selling the same fresh produce from the same local sources. They still supply the high quality colored mulches and top-soil.
While they have taken nothing away, Dwight and his family have been working to give customers more of what they want.
This includes expanding their baked goods selection, all made by local bakeries.
“We added cinnamon buns, pies, and cookies,” Dwight explained as he showed me the baked goods available.
“We’ve got apple-nut bread from Sweet Inspirations in Martinsburg, and fresh loaves of flavored breads that are Amish made from Lancaster, Pennsylvania,” Dwight adds.
“A lot of people thought the pies were made from scratch at the Market, but we aren’t licensed to make them, but we can bake them.”
While adding to the selection and offering customers more options, their goal is to take nothing away from the selection or quality that the Butlers offered.
What they do want to do is expand their selection by giving customer’s choices such an organic chicken and beef from local farms.
The Butlers have sold the store and the 4 acres surrounding the store, but they are still running their orchards and continue to supply Butler’s Farm Market with the fruits of their labor.
In preserving the market, Dwight and his family kept the name as a promise and reminder of what they wanted to do for their customers.
“Our one regret,” Dwight told me, “is that we don’t know the customers like Dave, Ginny, and Monville, not to mention the Butlers.
Now, as before, Butler’s Farm Market is focused on providing customers with the best, fresh, locally grown produce.
Butler’s Farm Market is coming into Peach Seasons, and they have the cherries and strawberries people expect.
“We’ve added some spices and dressings along with sauces for baking. We’ve got locally made syrups– pretty much everything,” Dwight said as he showed me around.
Dave was quick to point out the stone and mulch, saying that there is nothing different about the mulch and now they’re doing a premium mix of mulch, sand, and organic matter to create high-quality topsoil.
They’ve also added a new line of lawn furniture that includes higher quality sitting furniture and more color choices.
The market is still open from 9:00 till 5:00, but they have extended their Friday hours, opening at 9:00 and staying open until 7:00 PM.
“We’re usually in by 7:30 and don’t get home until 8:00,” Dwight adds. “After 5:00 we let the employees go home, and the family does the rest.”
Customers have asked if they could extend the hours on another day and they are working on that.
They’re also looking into staying open later in the season.
“We’re looking at staying open until Christmas, offering fruit baskets for the holidays,” Dwight explains.
One of their ‘offseason’ projects is adding a deli. While the deli is still in the planning stages, Dwight hopes to have it open for the 2019 season, if not sooner.
Dwight is amazed by the loyalty customers have towards Butler’s Farm Market, and he wants to make sure that they are happy with the service.
Dwight has loved interacting with the customers and asks people to drop in and introduce themselves.
“We’re new here,” Dwight explains. “We don’t know everyone… but we’d like to get to know you.”
“If nothing else, come by to say hi to Dave,” he adds.
Serious again, Dwight added, “Our biggest goal is customer satisfaction. If there is a problem, remember, we want to make it right.”
“One of the big differences in this area is that people are emotionally tied to the people at the market, not the store itself. We are not trying to take over, but rather preserve what is.”
“We love what we’re doing,” Dwight explains, and he loves having his family there with him.
For Dwight and his family, Butler’s Farm Market is returning to Dwight’s roots.
As Dwight points out, “all points lead home.”
You can visit Butler Farm Market at: 1793 Dry Run Road, Martinsburg, West Virginia 25403 or call them at: (304) 262-9414