Montpelier-based business helps people nationwide prepare for a ‘rainy day’
MONTPELIER — Located on the outskirts of Montpelier in Bear Lake County is a rather nondescript warehouse that is the base of operations for Rainy Day Foods, which is a spin-off of another Montpelier-based business, Walton Feed.
For more than 40 years, through all economic cycles, Rainy Day Foods has remained steadfast in its determination to be a regional and nationwide supplier of bulk foods and emergency supplies.
Rainy Day began in the 1970s when Walton Feed would create bags of wheat for mostly local residents. With food storage and being prepared for emergencies part of Bear Laker culture, a market was readily available locally. Since then, Rainy Day has carefully expanded its line of products to serve not just the local area but also a nationwide market for emergency preparedness. Four years ago, Rainy Day Foods formally became its own business and was separated from Walton Feed.
Not every household needs 50-pound sacks of everything lying around the basement. So Rainy Day Foods began sampling and testing smaller volumes that would still meet the needs of a family in the event of emergency. Today, the company sells freeze-dried and dehydrated foods for a range of everything from peaches to broccoli and cauliflower, even gravy. The products are personally sampled by the employees who give feedback not only on what tastes best but also on which products have the highest quality and shelf life.
Fifteen years ago, freeze-dried fruits and vegetables were on the expensive side, but they have now become more affordable to the general consumer. Much of Rainy Day’s product is purchased close to home to minimize travel and degradation of nutritional quality before packaging.
Customers from the East and South routinely make arrangements for pallets to be picked up when the price is right. These deliveries then go to organizations in those regions to help them be prepared for their next emergency. Return customers are a substantial part of Rainy Day Foods’ success.
As emergency preparation becomes more popular and the quality of emergency preparedness products and emergency food supplies increases, costs are being driven down to make being prepared more affordable.
With the possibility of emergency events nationwide, Rainy Day Foods also carries 72-hour kits, first-aid kits and water barrels for storing water safely. Water barrels come in 5-gallon, 15-gallon and 55-gallon sizes. In addition to providing canning supplies to the local population, they also carry water sterilization kits and appliances to help customers prepare their own kits and supplies. Many first-aid kits are designed small for recreational purposes such as camping or hiking.
Rainy Day has had an online presence for nearly 20 years, and this accounts for nearly 90 percent of its business. You can find them at raindayfoods.com. The option remains to either order and have them ship directly to the consumer, or the consumer can order and pick them up at the warehouse in Montpelier to achieve an even greater savings. Should a customer walk into the warehouse, they will find a wide selection of products discounted an even further 10 percent from the online price.
Karen Muir, the store manager said that customers should “look for monthly specials of 20 to 30 percent off the retail price.
“Every month brings something new,” she said. “And if there are questions, customers can call the warehouse at 208-847-2683 and speak to an actual person.”
Rick Lamm, manager of Rainy Day Foods, said they “have a knowledgeable staff ready to answer most questions. Our staff have sampled the products and have turned down those that don’t meet Rainy Day Foods’ quality standards.”
He also said that when preparing an emergency food supply it is important to include comfort foods because, psychologically, they may not be able to solve an emergency but they do help make it more endurable.
As for the future, Rainy Day would like to expand its local and regional market farther into the Intermountain West, including East Idaho, northern Utah and western Wyoming. Their quality products and reasonable prices make a trip to the Montpelier store worth the trip for the day. They are open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.