WILLIAMSFIELD, Ill. (WMBD) – At 17-years-old, Hayden Beard isn’t your typical teenager.
“I’ve got cows to feed every morning. So, I wake up, feed my calves, come here and be open by 8:15 a.m. Then [I] go to school and be back here [to] do hands-on labor,” he said.
The Williamsfield High School senior owns his own business – Beard’s Feed Store.
Having grown up on a farm influenced Beard greatly, he said.
“I know how to have a good work ethic. I know what hands-on labor looks like. It’s definitely prepared me for this opportunity,” he said.
As an entrepreneur and a student, Beard juggles his time running the supply store by himself in the morning, going to school for three hours in the afternoon, and then going back to work.
And, he’s getting class credit for his real-life, work experiences.
“I love it. I love every second of it. I love being on the farm. I love being with my cattle. I love being here. I get to help my community. That’s my biggest thing,” he said.
Beard credits much of his store’s successful launch to the school district, the Hopedale Agri-Center, and the Williamsfield Young Entrepreneur Program.
In May 2020, before he even had a driver’s license, Beard created a business plan with a projected budget, then applied to the program.
The organization helped him find an old Legion Hall to bring Beard’s Feed Store to life. After extensive renovations, Beard officially opened up shop on Jan. 8.
“You’ve got to work to get what you want. You know, so I’ve got big dreams. So I have to start young. I want to start farming with my brother and to be able to afford to do that, I mean, I have to be busting my butt while he’s busting his,” Beard said.
Next year, Beard plans to attend Western Illinois University. He’s considering going to school for law or to become a certified public accountant. In the future, he wants to be farming alongside his older brother, Easton.
Beard’s Feed Store is located at 103 W. Gale St. in Williamsfield.