Woody’s Country Store
Owners: Caleb and Sarah Kessinger
Location: Highlandville, Mo.
History: Woody’s Country Store opened for business Memorial Day weekend of 2011. Caleb and Sarah Kessinger knew that they would need a safe (and fun) haven for their youngest son, Forrest Woodrow “Woody,” to play and grow up around, along with their two older children, Miriam and Nathaniel. And so Woody’s Country Store was born.
Products and Services: Woody’s carries a vast array of products, starting with Amish and Pennsylvania Dutch goods. The store shelves are stocked with pie fillings, spices, bacon, cheese and sausage. Sarah noted that some of the top sellers are the local jams and jellies. Woody’s also carries live bait (goldfish, minnows, crawdads, etc.), tackle, local and specialty honeys, a local cosmetic line, fireworks, Tindle Feed and gifts, to name a few. Caleb also builds handcrafted, custom furniture from a shop in the back of the store.
The petting zoo: Perhaps the most unique aspect of Woody’s Country Store is the petting zoo. Woody’s boasts a full menagerie, including chickens, rabbits, sheep, ducks, geese, goats, alpacas, a horse named Dakota and his donkey pal, Jack, and a potbellied pig named Walter. Sarah explained that the petting zoo animals were originally the Kessinger’s personal pets. When they opened the store, they decided to share them with everyone. “Walter is definitely a crowd favorite,” Sarah laughed. Not only does the friendly little porker know how to stand on his hind legs and beg for treats, he also has a claim to fame: he was Buckingham’s Kiss a Pig Contest swine. Visiting Walter and the other animals is always free and for a few quarters, you can buy them a handful of feed from the feed dispenser.
Story and Photo By Klaire Bruce