50 years have passed since Lemos Feed and Pet Supply first opened for business on Los Berros Rd. in Arroyo Grande in May 1972.
Mike Lemos, owner and founder of the company, says he was just 22 years old when he got the business off the ground. Now, the company operates out of 14 Central Coast locations and employs 98 people on the Central Coast.
"I had hair back then. It was dark," Lemos said with a laugh. "And here we are today, and I am totally blessed. It's been quite a ride.
Looking back on five decades in business, Lemos credits his employees and customers for helping the company put down deep roots.
"There's been a lot of really good people to come through our doors, and staff," Lemos said. "And that's what makes us who we are today."
Lemos says the company takes pride in what they do. Beyond selling high-quality food and working with top-tier vendors ("We only deal with nice people," Lemos told us), the company advocates for local pet adoption.
"We're involved with humane societies, and we recommend, whenever you can, to adopt," Lemos said. "And we support them vigorously. We've been here a long time and have done our share of adoptions."
Lemos said he got his start working with livestock. While raising sheep and cattle, he sold hay to friends. He eventually transitioned to selling feed to smaller animals, and Lemos Feed & Pet Supply was born.
Lemos says he still sells to some of the same customers he had back in the seventies, and offered gratitude for their loyalty.
"I would really like to thank the community," Lemos said. "We have committed for 50 years to take care of [...] their pets' needs. That's a responsibility I don't take lightly."
In the meantime, Lemos shows no signs of slowing down. He remains involved in the company's day to day operation.
"If you have a problem, call Mike," he said.