“I can’t just sit around and do nothing.”
When Lou Alfano says those words, he isn’t kidding. For a man in his 80s, Alfano remains very busy around his Nicholson property. He frequently helps his daughter run what used to be his business, Lou’s Feed Store, and spends the rest of his time going for walks and undertaking various home improvement projects around the house that he built.
On this day, he plans to paint his front steps in the afternoon and he proudly points out the awning that he built over his front walkway the previous fall.
“After one storm, it took me two days to clear it out. Last winter I hardly shovelled any snow,” Alfano said.
Alfano has always known the value of a hard day’s work, having grown up on a farm and spending much of his working life as a dairy farmer.
Before he took over his father’s farm, Alfano worked for CP Rail and for the department of highways. After getting married in 1953, Alfano built the house he still lives in and started a family with his wife Hazel.
Alfano noticed Hazel around town before actually meeting her. “Wow, look at that girl!” was his initial reaction. Later, he was introduced to her by his cousin Sam Palumbo.
At one point, Alfano was milking 16 cows and had to build a larger barn to accomodate the large herd. Then, in 1970 an inspector told him that he needed a large bulk tank in order to continue his dairy business. Instead of upgrading his equipment, Alfano sold all but one of his cows (keeping the last to supply milk to his growing family) and opened up the feed store that is still in operation today.
“It got so busy,” he said. “I sold chicks and I had all kinds of feed, dog food, pet food, everything.”
It was a natural transition, because Alfano was often running a small version of the feed store anyway.
“I used to haul my own feed and grain for my cows from Alberta,” he recalled. “People found out I was going there and they’d say ‘well bring me back this or bring me back that’…So that’s when I decided to open the store.”
Apart from work, Aflano served as president of the Elks Club before they disbanded and belonged to the Golden Farmer’s Institute, serving in the role of secretary and treasurer.
On a couple of occasions over the years, Alfano brought up the idea of moving, but Hazel always refused, even when she was battling the cancer that she eventually succumbed to.
Alfano continues to enjoy living in Golden and resides on the same property that he grew up on. And really, this is the perfect place to be for a man who “can’t just sit around and do nothing.”