Today we’d like to introduce you to Amber Seiss.
Hi Amber, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers.
I am a pretty reflective person, if I look back at where this all began, we need to travel back through time to when I was just a little girl at the age of 5 living on my family farm in Pipestone Minnesota. It was the summer when I was 5 years old, I was too young to show cattle yet, but my dad got me a heifer in to work on anyways. I was up each morning around 6 to have a quick breakfast and then go out and start working on her before the day got hot.
It was a few hours each day spent with my family, animals, and time outside on my family farm. I attended my first show that summer and quickly learned that to be successful it would take hard work, determination, relentless effort, and a willingness to never give up no matter what the circumstances, how to win, and how to lose. Fast forward 15 years, I had moved to Thurmont, MD to marry my husband Brad.
We quickly found that we were a great team of determined individuals. I was in the final stages of my undergraduate program to become a dually certified teacher in Elementary Education and Special Education. I became employed with a local school system and earned my Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Supervision from Hood College. My plan was to become a Principal, however, life had different plans for me.
An opportunity came about to purchase Gateway Candyland and Liquors in our hometown, and for our lifestyle at that time, it was a perfect fit. I was close to work, I had more time for our growing family, and I was able to utilize the creative part of my brain. A few years after the purchase, we decided to implement an idea for a new store that had been brewing for quite some time for me.
We successfully opened The Farmhouse Exchange in Thurmont, MD in May of 2020. This was a store that combined several things for me, my love of cooking and agriculture. All of those characteristics of shows came flooding back from the summer when I was 5. Opening The Farmhouse Exchange was exciting, but also challenging. Not only was it a new concept, but we also had to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, escalating food costs, labor challenges, and countless other challenges all small businesses encounter.
Nonetheless, it has been an absolutely rewarding experience that I was then able to utilize with my most recent projects: Magnolia Meadow Farms, The Farmhouse at Magnolia Meadow Farms, and The Mathwig Wedding Barn. As we sit today, I am able to reflect on how blessed I was to be taught those special characteristics at the ripe old age of 5 years old. I know that I would not be where I am today without them.
I currently own and operate Gateway Candyland, Gateway Liquors, The Farmhouse Exchange, Magnolia Meadow Farms, The Farmhouse at Magnolia Meadow Farms, and The Mathwig Wedding Barn. I have chosen a life path that is busy, rewarding, challenging, and interconnected. Keeping these in balance is essential for me.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I think with any business venture, whether it is purchasing an established business, implementing a new concept, building a business from the ground up, or transitioning a business there are always bumps and roadblocks. There have been plenty for me, and some that I am still navigating.
I believe if we choose to focus on these, we lose sight of other opportunities. There is always a solution. Sometimes it’s what we want, sometimes it may be challenging, disagree with what we originally had planned, or it takes an out-of-the-box glance and re-thinking totally; but there is always a solution.
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Magnolia Meadow Farms: We are a working farm with a focus on transitioning from cropland to grassland for our herd of beef cattle. We harvest over 180 acres of hay for our cattle, but also have several other crops that we raise for our agritourism business that is located on the farm each fall.
We have corn, soybeans, pumpkins, gourds, sunflowers, and cut flowers. We have a fall festival that will be from September 16th – October 30th, 2022 for this year. We offer over 20 activities for all ages. Visitors to the farm can access our U-Pick Pumpkin, Sunflower & Cut Flower fields, enjoy a hayride, and the other 20+ activities that are offered at the farm. These include our farm animal interactions barn, apple cannons, jump pillow, mini zip lines, and more!
The Farmhouse at Magnolia Meadow Farms: This is an Airbnb property that is located on the farm. It is a quiet farmhouse that sits off the road and is encompassed by 22 acres of nature. Inside you will find a bright, open living room with stunning views of the mountains and farmland. Snuggle up on the bay window bench with a good book, or lounge on the huge couch in front of the cozy fireplace. It has already been enjoyed by many, and we can’t wait to host additional guests on our farm.
The Mathwig Wedding Barn: The Mathwig Estate is a well-known piece of property in Thurmont. The gorgeous barn that sits on this property has been beautifully restored over the years prior to barn weddings becoming popular. This upcoming venue is currently under the permitting process and is not yet open for rental.
The Farmhouse Exchange: We are a local market that serves local beef, pork, and poultry products. We also have a large product selection as the seasons make it available. We offer a full deli for meat and cheese that can be sliced by the pound or made into a made-to-order deli sandwich or panini.
Each week we feature a specialty sandwich and soup(seasonal) that is created in-house. Our bakery selection is always expanding and changing. We make Pies, Cookies, Cheese Bread, Sweet Bread, Apple Cider Donuts, and many other goods that utilize our fresh ingredients or seasonal items.
Gateway Candyland: Known as “Gateway,” “Candyland,” or “Gateway Candyland” has been a local spot and tourist destination for 40 years. Some of our most popular selections are our extensive line of Mix & Match Candy, Chocolate, Homemade Fudge, and Ice Cream.
During the summer months, we have 6 flavors of Soft Serve Ice Cream and throughout the entire year, we offer 24 flavors of Hand Dipped Ice Cream. We also offer the area’s largest selection of candy-making supplies, so whether you are looking to purchase or make, we have you covered!
Gateway Liquors: We are a traditional Beer, Wine, and Liquor store that offers a large selection of Craft Beer and Bourbon. We also service several local wedding venues and cater to the bars for over 200 events per year.
We have an in-house wedding coordinator that works with our clients to build their bar, we deliver it to their venue, pick up the leftover product at the end of the evening and provide a refund based on their unused product.
What makes you happy?
My family & my cows. These are two driving forces in everything I do each and every day. I believe that a child’s best role model is their parents. I work each day as though it’s my last, and hope that they can see that unwavering dedication pays off.
There is also something about my cows that brings me peace and tranquility. I am the first to admit, that I have a lot of moving parts in my life. Being able to go out, walk through my cows that once walked on my family farm in Minnesota, take a deep breath, and enjoy those moments are priceless to me.
- Website: www.magnoliameadowfarms.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/magnoliameadowfarms/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/magnoliameadowfarms
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