Ten years ago, Carl Chaney was a dairy farmer and his wife, Debra, was a seamstress.
The couple established Chaney’s Dairy Barn in September 2003 on their farm at 9191 Nashville Road, and it has become one of the most popular businesses in Bowling Green. The dairy barn serves ice cream made on the premises, has a full menu for lunch and dinner, sells local crafts and food and has a playground on the property.
On Saturday, the Chaneys hosted a birthday bash to celebrate the dairy barn’s 10th anniversary with hay rides, pony rides, face painting and pumpkin painting. They planned to have live music from the Red River Fiddlers and Clay Underwood on Saturday evening.
“We just felt like it was a landmark worth celebrating in a bigger way than we’ve done in the past,” Debra Chaney said Saturday.
Combining food service with dairy farming has been challenging but rewarding, she said.
“It’s just been like watching a child grow,” she said. “You see it at such a slow rate that you don’t see it as outwardly as you do if you come one year and don’t come again until the next.”
The couple’s goal for the immediate future is to increase milk sales.
“We’ve had some of the best quality milk coming from our registered Jerseys than we’ve ever had,” Debra Chaney said.
Milk from Jersey cows, the only type the Chaneys raise, is higher in calcium and protein than any other cow breed, she said. Milk from Chaney’s is stocked at 20 IGA locations, and they are negotiating to make their milk available at Kroger as well.
Originally, Carl Chaney thought he and his wife could take care of all the customers on their own, but Debra Chaney knew they would have to hire employees to help them. She estimated the dairy barn has employed close to 200 people in its 10 years.
“That’s been a blessing to be able to work with those individuals,” she said.
Ashley Trunzo of Bowling Green has spent a total of six years working at Chaney’s. She worked there for the first three years the business was open and returned several years ago after graduating from college. Like most employees there, she helps with anything that’s needed, from cooking in the kitchen to serving customers to helping out at special events like the anniversary celebration.
“I think that’s part of why everyone works so well together – because everyone knows how to do everything,” she said.
Trunzo thinks Chaney’s family atmosphere and visibility in the community is what has made it so successful.
“When people come here, they really feel like they’re part of a family and not just eating at a chain restaurant,” she said.