Owner: Stan Cowan
Location: Bixby, Okla.
History: “Our feed and supply business began a few blocks from here in 1987 when I rented a building,” owner Stan Cowan explained. “However, I soon saw the advantage of owning my own, larger facility so in 1990 I purchased 2 acres and built two adjoining structures, one for retail and another for feed storage. I expanded the storage facility in 2005 and now have a total of 10,000 square feet. Justin Kindley was my manager for 16 years when he unexpectedly passed. My daughter, Jessica Combs, who has always worked here on and off, stepped in as manager in 2010 as has remained in that position since then. The industry has changed since I began. One change is the influx of big box agricultural stores which has severely hurt small, privately owned ones. Another change is that women are our customers more and more often. Finally, old and full-time farmers are retiring with no one taking their place. One result is an increased number of smaller, hobby farmers who work off the farm to support their hobby.”
Products and Services: “The largest portion of our business is selling bagged food for pets and livestock. The greatest portion of our sales come from horse owners who need feed, supplements and assessories. Our sales of livestock feed for cattle, goats and sheep is for show feed which meets the needs of young people in 4-H and FFA who show at the county and state fairs. Every year we sell over 20,000 square bales of Bermuda and alfalfa hay, as well as straw with Bermuda being the most popular purchase. We also carry 50-pound bags of chicken feed and wild bird seed and to standard vet supplies. We offer a wide variety of supplements, including minerals in granular form. One of our most unusual customers is the Oklahoma Aquarium who orders shark vitamin tablets from us. Finally, we carry commercial fertilizer and both residential and agricultural herbicides.”
Philosophy and future: “In a business like ours, we know our customers well, many of which we not only know their names but the names of their children and sometimes even their pets. Part of what makes us successful is that we have quick access to items we do not carry in inventory so we can meet the needs of whatever our customers require. I hope this will become a three generation business.”