.Sam’s Downtown Closes Its Stables

Sam’s Downtown, a remnant of the city’s rural past, is emptying its shelves

Across the street from a swanky new West San Carlos Street apartment complex sits an old brick building bedecked with the “Sam’s DOWNTOWN FEED & PET SUPPLY” sign in a vintage western font.

The vestige of the valley’s agricultural legacy, shrouded by a shrinking business district that includes a dry cleaner, taquerias, secondhand clothing stores, welders, gas stations, auto repair shops and a used hubcap store, is just a short distance from Adobe Inc.’s new tower and Google’s future corporate campus. It incorporates bricks as old as 100 years, brought in from a brickyard near San Jose’s Del Mar High School, and it previously housed a speakeasy, and later a car dealership.

The juxtaposed buildings on the busy corridor are a jarring reminder of gentrification’s inevitable march, visible across the vacant establishments spanning downtown San Jose and along San Carlos Street.

Since 1986, Sam’s Feed & Pet Supply has provided devoted local patrons with grain, hay and zoological feed. “Feeding anteaters to zebras,” the store has garnered much support over three decades for being one of sole locales to carry a variety of agricultural goods.

And while a dependable source of nutrition for a shrinking population of horses, goat and pigs, urbanites with backyard chickens and suburban families with rabbits, guinea pigs, puppies or gerbils could source feed, hay, crushed oyster shells and accessories.

Owners Sam and Lisa Blackford carved a niche with jars of honey from nearby beekeepers, dog biscuits to hand to children to feed their pets and kitschy, cluttered signs. Reports that Sam recently stepped down due to health issues lit up local neighborhood lists. Blackford’s wife is said to be winding down operations at the store.

Cashier Becky revealed that the store is selling off remaining products, with no plans to replenish.

Melisa Yuriarhttps://www.melisayuriar.com
Melisa is a features writer for Metro Silicon Valley, covering music, arts and entertainment in the Valley. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, the journalist has bylines in Dancing Astronaut, Gray Area Magazine, Festival Insider and Saint Audio. She is a member of the American Copy Editors Society.


  1. I’m sorry to see the store closing after so many years.. it’s been a corner post in the community.

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  2. Such a great place to visit. Loved getting all my chicken stuff there. Shopped there for years and I will miss it

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  3. I remember pop taking me there when I was a young pup fun friendly place all things past except memories hope the best 4 Sam n his partner the cycle of life business n people world quite different can’t turn back the clock theGoogelites n apple tarts r buying block by block?

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  4. Sam and Lisa have supported my rescue for years. I am sorry to see them go. We all wish you well and this community will miss your presence.

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  5. We will greatly miss going there. It was fun to just go in to look around and be reminded of something from the past. We have always been able to get help and very useful information when we have come in to shop. We wish Sam and Lisa well and hope that Sam’s health will improve.

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  6. I will so miss this one of a kind local business. Sam and Lisa was so generous to our community. With that said… I’m totally disgusted with google city coming in. It’s devouring all the old San Jose neighborhood memories…
    Thank you Sam and Lisa! BTW
    Stay away from Granado feed store on Lincoln . P..s poor customer service and too expensive.. definitely no cheer in that place like Sam’s Feed always had

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    • Sam’s didn’t have some chicken grower crumble or something I was looking for so I went to Ganado’s instead on Lincoln as I had recently heard about them. They recommended which feed I should get so I got a fifty pound bag of that. Also, I had a rooster which was starting to crow and they took him in, since sometimes people come by looking for chickens when they have land outside city limits.

      Ganado’s had a fire in the store I guess six months ago which they are still recovering from, but they had all their stock outside on big shelves, so that was no problem. People seemed nice to me and I will be going back.

      Sad to see Sam’s go. I’ll take my kids as few more times so they can remember. Maybe someone can turn it into a beer garden or something… It’s a cool spot. You could convert the parking into more housing and still keep the old barn style building. It’s worth saving! I hope the city and some developer work out something cool to do with that spot.

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  7. Best of luck and good health to Sam and Lisa. Enjoy the next chapter.
    Hope to see you at WGHS reunion in 2023!

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