Owner: John Gayer

Rogersville, Mo. Store Manager: Ben Pugh (pictured)

History: Ben Pugh has been the manager of the Rogersville, Mo., location of Gordon’s Feed and Pet in rural Greene County, Mo., for the past three to four years and worked for the firm for a total of approximately eight years. He takes a rather unusual view of his role as a feed store manager.

“The people is what this business is all about,” he explained. “You make a lot of friends in this business, people you see all the time so I think of myself as something like a bartender to the agriculture community around here. That means I talk to a lot of people and I listen to a lot of people. I hear about their animals and their individual operations, which is great. It also means I watch out for them and when one of my regulars hasn’t shown up here like they usually do, I want to know why. I want to make sure there aren’t problems on the farm where we can help, but I also want to know if there are problems at home or with someone’s health. That’s just what friends do for one another.”

Products: “Cattle and horse feed are always going to be the driving forces behind this kind of business in the Ozarks,” Ben said. “Purina products are the bulk of what we sell. We have lots of different brands of dog and cat feed. I can see 12 different brands on the shelf right here from where I’m standing. Another big seller for us though is our exotic feeds. We like to say we can feed everything from Angus and aardvarks to zebras, as well as your dog and cat. We serve a number of businesses that are breeders and animal rescue operations and that includes folks from Branson, Nashville, St. Louis, Memphis, Little Rock, Kansas City all the way to Dallas.

In addition to the Rosgerville, Mo., store, Gordan’s Feed and Pet has locations in Ash Grove, Clever, Greenfield and Marshfield.

Family: While Ben himself does not farm, he helps out his father, Vern Pugh who raises Irish Dexter cattle on his farm named Windswept near Willard, Mo. He and his wife Allison have two grown daughters and spend their time off work, with family and friends. Ben does enjoy the pet side of the business in a more personal way, however, and has three dogs, a Blue Healer and two long-haired Chihuahuas.

“Those two are Rooster T. Cogburn and Mable Misdemeanor, because she’s too small to be a felony,” he concluded with a chuckle.


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