“We haul most of our feed with a pickup!” Chad Smith says, chuckling while looking out the window at the Hi-Pro Feeds Cheyenne Mill across the street. “We used to send a flatbed over, but decided it was just as easy to zip over there in a pickup.”
The close proximity to the Hi-Pro mill is what lead Chad and his wife Sherry to start selling feed back in 2008. “My uncle owned the mill and a fertilizer plant. The mill had a retail store that I helped manage for 8 years. Then he sold the fertilizer plant to me, and the mill to Hi-Pro. Clifton Morgan approached me explaining that Hi-Pro wasn’t interested in retail, but would like to work with me as their local feed dealer.”
Both Chad and Sherry were familiar with the area, and Chad had many years of experience in the feed business. However, it was still a challenge. “It was a risk, because it was fairly capital intensive for us starting out. We had to add on facilities and equipment for the feed that weren’t already part of the fertilizer operation.”
Luckily, business picked up quickly. “A lot of business migrated over to us from Sunrise Feed after the sale, but I’ve kept growing the business.” Chad says “In the feed business, you’re only hindered by how far you can send your truck. So, we’ve been able to expand quite a bit.”
It didn’t take long for business to grow enough that Sherry, then a business teacher at the high school, quit her job to help at the store full-time. Both she and Chad have been happy that she did. “I like the interaction with the farmers and ranchers.” Sherry says “And it’s been great that we do it as a family. We have four kids, Ethan, Drake, Amber and Dixie, and they all come to help after school and in the summer. Any of them can do anything around here. It makes us so proud to see it instill in them a strong work ethic.”
Not only that, but when Ethan was in high school, he made it his dream to marry his girlfriend and raise his family in Cheyenne while helping run the store. That strong work ethic ensured his success. Ethan graduated from Southwestern with a degree in business and moved back home with his wife. They’ve been married four years, and she recently gave birth to twins. “He’s done an amazing job, and it’s been fun having him here.” Sherry says proudly.
When asked about his philosophy for running Smith Ag Center, Chad doesn’t hesitate. “Honesty is our strongest trait. Most of our customers stay with us because they know they are getting what they pay for and good service.”
This philosophy is something Hi-Pro Feeds shares with the Smiths, and has led to a strong working relationship. “After you deal with Hi-Pro you don’t want to deal with anyone else.” Chad explains “They are just awesome people to deal with, from the top to the bottom. It doesn’t matter how big they get, they still act like a ma and pa operation.”
Sherry nods “Every single person you talk to acts like you are the first person they’ve talked to that day, and you feel like you are the most important person they’ve talked to that day.”
“All our growth has been from a neighbor saying ‘Smith Ag takes good care of us.’ It’s all service and having a good product” Chad says “And Hi-Pro is a huge help with that. Their products are great, and they are great at dealing with problems. I don’t have to go through four or five people and wait to hear back. After one phone call, I can tell my customers ‘This is what they are going to do.’”
“They truly are invested in helping us be successful.” Sherry mentions “We appreciate that they feel like a family business, because that’s what we are, too.”
If you’d like to visit Smith Ag Center, they are located at 501 N. 7th Street in Cheyenne, OK. You can also give them a call at 580-497-3911.
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