• Wed. May 25th, 2022

Farms for Tomorrow Podcast: Kathy Sample and Bill Brinkerhoff, Argus Farm Shop

ByRandall B. Phelps

Feb 3, 2022

Next Generation Farmer’s Market

Argus Farm Stop opened in August 2014 with a mission develop the local agricultural economy by creating a year-round market for locally produced food. Since then, Argus has brought in over $10 million in sales revenue to local growers while building a loyal community.

Argus Farm Stop operates on a consignment basis: Farms retain ownership of store inventory and receive 75 cents on every dollar of sale. At the same time, by bringing together products from more than 200 producers, the 7-day showcase offers a wide selection of local products and a convenient one-stop shop for consumers. The result: producers and their customers get what they need.

Visitors to Argus Farm Stop will see customers picking up food for dinner, students and neighbors gathering over coffee, farmers making deliveries and knowledgeable staff introducing customers to the local food scene. Local fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meats, baked goods, and even beer and wine make for a complete shopping experience.

Argus opened a second location in Ann Arbor in 2017, with a third location planned for 2022. Argus founders and staff also hold webinars and trainings on a regular basis for anyone interested in starting a farm in their communities. local.

About Kathy Sample and Bill Brinkerhoff

With the launch of Argus Farm Stop in 2014, Kathy Sample and Bill Brinkerhoff turned their passion for local food into a community mission. A CSA subscriber for years, the married co-founders wanted to find a way to strengthen area farms and bring healthy local foods to consumers.

The opening of the 100% local food storefront in Ann Arbor marked a major turning point in the careers of each of the two co-founders. Kathy comes to the project with 25 years of marketing, strategy and business planning experience in the chemical, medical gas and automotive industries. Bill has worked for over 20 years in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, focusing on new product planning, corporate development, business development and licensing. Both earned an MBA from the University of Michigan, where they met.

Since opening the farm, Bill and Kathy have worn all the hats and taken on all the roles in their new business. Over the years, they have stepped back to let new leaders emerge among the Argus staff and together opened a second storefront in 2017.

In 2015, the couple purchased Base Lake Farm in Webster Township north of Ann Arbor. The historic 258-acre farm, formerly owned by the owners of Carl’s Chop House to supply beef to the historic Detroit restaurant, is now home to Baseline Farm, a grass-fed beef operation run by farmer John Cox, as well as an Airbnb. They purchased the land to protect it from development via conservation easements and to keep it under agriculture.

As of 2021, Kathy and Bill continue to be actively involved in the operation and growth of Argus Farm Stop. The couple and their team also offer webinars and trainings to help those interested in starting a farming stopover in their local communities. Kathy and Bill have three children and live in Ann Arbor.