Tomlinson’s Feed: An Iconic Austin Business
In 1946, T. R. Tomlinson moved down the road from Jarrell, Texas to Austin and opened a chicken hatchery. Over the ensuing 77 years, Tomlinson’s Feed and Pets has evolved from that simple chicken hatchery to 16 full-service stores offering natural, healthy pet supplies. There are 10 in Austin and six in the surrounding area.
In 1970, Tomlinson moved from his original location on East Ave., near what is now UT’s Disch-Faulk baseball stadium, to 908 E. 49th 1/2 St., just off Airport Blvd. That location remains headquarters for the company today.
In those days, Tomlinson’s operated as a feed store, selling livestock feed and live animals, including chickens, ducks and rabbits. He also ran a wholesale business selling small, caged birds – parakeets and cockatiels, which he’d buy from Texas farmers and ship to stores across the U.S.
But a year after moving to 49th ½ St., Tomlinson’s health began to fail and, he sold the business to Liniel Click, who had moved to Austin from Lubbock in 1970. Click wanted to own his own business, one in which he could raise and work alongside his young sons. He maintained the business’s name – Tomlinson’s – and continued to focus on feed and live animals until 1986, when he opened a second location and added high-nutrition pet foods.
Click’s son, Scott, joined the business full-time after he finished his college education in 1986. Together, they began adding stores across Austin. In 2008, Liniel retired. Scott’s wife, Renae, joined the business to focus on customer experience and opening additional locations.
In 2012 and 2013, Scott and Renae’s son and daughter, Brandon and Kate, joined Tomlinson’s after working in other industries and brought their experience to grow the business’s overall operations.
Opening its newest location last year at Parmer Lane and IH-35, Tomlinson’s Feed now operates 16 neighborhood pet supply stores, employs more than 185 Central Texans, and offers same-day pet supply delivery around the Austin area. Additionally, Tomlinson's Feed distributes donations of more than 175,000 pounds of healthy pet food and more than $40,000 in contributions to Central Texas rescue animal organizations every year.
“Austin is our home and we’ve been so lucky to grow alongside it,” said Kate Knecht, fourth- generation owner and Tomlinson’s Brand Director. “As the city continues to evolve in the years to come, Tomlinson’s will evolve with it in whichever ways our customers and their pets need.”