Anyone familiar with rural small towns knows feed stores are often more than that, they are a social center. At Gruver Ag, that’s no different. Katy Slough explains “We’re like a coffee shop. People come in to visit and drink coffee before they pick up their feed. We love it. It’s great to learn about their lives. We feel like a part of their family.“
Family is what Gruver Ag is all about. Started in 1987 by Kenneth and Alice Slough, the store was purchased by their son, Nick, in 2010. “I’m the second youngest of seven kids.” Nick says. “I grew up in this store. We all did, really. Starting about the fifth grade we were in and out of this place. We all started out helping load feed and whatnot. We also do custom chemicals, so by high school and college age us kids would run the chemical applicators all summer to help pay for college.”
It was always expected that one of the Kenneth and Alice’s children would buy the business and continue the family legacy, and when Ken decided he was ready to retire, Nick stepped up. “I really wanted to make sure the store kept going, and it was a good opportunity for me to purchase an established business.”
Nick’s long history with the store made the job of running things a natural fit. “I already had a relationship with most of our customers. They trusted my dad, and were able to transfer that trust to me as well. And that’s a really rewarding side of this business. You get to talk to so many different people and interact with them. I love to see my hard work flourish for other people. To see them successful and feel like you had a part in that feels really good.”
Katy agrees, “Because we are so close to the people we serve, it’s become important for us to be a source for the community. I’m big on keeping things local, and supporting local.”
“That’s also why customer service is so important to us.” Nick continues, “We’re not opposed to being up here outside of normal office hours. We know it’s hard for people to get into a certain place at a certain time.”
Katy nods. “We’re very open. If you call us, we’ll get up here for you.”
However, their support of community doesn’t just apply to the store. “We are very strong supporters of local youth and the Junior Livestock Show. Nick helps coach the 4-H Livestock Judging team, and I help out in any way I can. The youth of this world are going to grow up and be running things one day. We want to support their learning agriculture and responsible leadership. We really feel like we’ve stepped up as leaders in supporting the youth in the county and the area.”
Along with taking the lead in supporting 4-H, Nick and Katy have worked to expand the store. “My dad had established such a successful operation, I really haven’t felt compelled to change too much, but I have worked on expanding our selling area.”
“Nick has done a great job of growing the business.” Katy says proudly, “He’s really good at talking to people. For my part, I’m working on expanding our inventory so people can come to us for tack and animal health products as well as feed. We want to expand our customer base, not just to farmers and ranchers, but the townspeople, as well.”
If you’d like to become a part of the Gruver Ag family, or just stop in for a cup of coffee and a visit, you can find them at 200 W. Broadway in Gruver, TX. You can also call them at: 806-733-5005 or visit their website.
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