For owners John Hart Jr., and Billy Hart a love for farming and countryside living is in their blood.
After all, their father, John Hart Sr., not only owned his own farm but his grandfather also owned and created Hunt’s Mill located on the border of Princeton and Lawrence in the 1900s.
The neighborhood surrounding the mill was called Rosedale, and the name stuck with Hart Sr. when he created his feed store Rosedale Mills in Princeton during the 1950.
Rosedale Mills, back then, specialized only in providing feed for animals, in a time when farms out numbered houses. Today the retail outlet sells livestock and horse feed, pet supplies and food, outdoor sheds for pets, horses and chickens, landscaping and gardening supplies, lawn mowing supplies and mowers, bird feeders, tropical fish, true value hardware, paint, a pet grooming service and more.
Located at 101 Route 31 N., in Pennington, the store also delivers to farms as far out as 25 miles on a daily basis and holds seminars on topics like landscaping and horse owner workshops. They also deliver salt and pet food.
Originally located in Princeton, from 1966 to 2000, it made the move to Pennington Borough before landing at its current location. The store as it stands now was built from scratch and took the business from two acres to four.
It began with a sole focus on the feed business, but as the needs of the surrounding area changed so did the focus of the store. When the community started changing from farms to neighborhoods, the store expanded more into the lawn and garden and pet business, Hart said. Hart raises horses, cows and chickens on his own 76 acre farm located behind the establishment. He also grows much of the corn, hay and straw sold at the store.
The store is continuously diversifying. Most recently they have added a paint section and a lawn mower section. Still, the pet foods and supplies remain among the most popular sold items, he said. Second would be the large animal feed.
“Some people come into feed the deer, some people come in to repel the deer,” he said.
The shop focuses on all outdoor needs, so natural pesticides and repellent products also find their way onto the shelves.
A key specialization at the store is the wide selection of outdoor birdfeeders, a collection Hart said may be one of the largest in the area.
The difference at Rosedale Mills is the careful attention to quality and detail in selecting the products displayed Hart said.
For example, the shop sells Webber grills, but according to Hart, these grills aren’t the same you can find in a large brand name retailer. “People don’t realize that until they come into the store,” he said.
Since the store is not mass merchandising, they can pick grills with better workmanship and the same is true of other products as well, he said.
“All of our stuff is more about quality, our merchandise too is more of the better lines,” he said. “Customers are going to get quality merchandise for from our store.”
There’s also a focus on selecting high quality foods and green items, he said.
“Our store is focused on organic products now, being that everyone’s getting this green conscious,” he said. About 20 full time and part-time employees make up the staff, and they’re all local, Hart said.
The shop has customer appreciation days and runs a number of sales throughout the year, including a big Labor Day sale on lawn and garden items. In the middle of September, there will also be a new sale that involves a bucket. Customers will be given a bucket and will receive 20 percent off all the items they can fit inside, Hart said.
For more information, call (609) 737-2008 or go online to rosedalemills.com. The store is open seven days a week, Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 a.m.