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Allied Feeds celebrates 30 years in business


Jan. 30, 2012 at 5:03 p.m.
Updated Jan. 29, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.

Allied Feeds Vice President Kenneth Klimitchek shows a warehouse stocked with horse, goat, deer, bird and pet feed. The storage and inventory process relies on computers and automation to keep their products moving efficiently.

CUERO - From loading hulking bags of feed to answering jingling phones and concocting that just-right blend, workers at Cuero's Allied Feeds keep busy. And, if it seems like they know what they're doing, it's because they probably do.

After all, the business has been around for awhile.

On Wednesday, Allied Feeds celebrates its 30th anniversary.

The company began Feb. 1, 1982, when four men, J. Gossett, Jim Caskey, Johnny Gantt and Clyde Woerner, purchased what was then a Wayne Feeds plant. It wasn't until several years later that Wayne allowed the company to change its feed name to Ful-O-Pep, a name that dates back to the 1940s and is associated with the Quaker Oats brand, said Greg Gossett, Allied's president.

From there, the business saw growth.

The company purchased a San Antonio location in 1985 and, five years later, purchased a plant in Brady.

Two years later, 1997, was a big year, when Allied not only sold the Brady plant, but also the Gossett family took on 100 percent company ownership.

Business has remained strong through the years, Gossett said. Like any company, however, it's had its ups and downs.

The 1998 flood was a major sticking point for Allied, which had no insurance at the time.

"When you're more than three miles from the river, you don't think you'll need it," Gossett said, explaining water reached some 4 feet high at the business.

Company vice president Ken Klimitchek said he remembers the flood well.

He couldn't get to work from north of town, so he went through Yoakum, instead. Once he completed that soggy trek, he found nothing but work and lots of clean-up ahead.

"We lost all of our inventory," he said from inside a storage warehouse. "I remember there was a big piece of equipment we'd just gotten that cost about $6,000. I put it on top of some bags to keep it dry, but the bags got wet and fell apart. Everything was soaked."

Other years were better.

Last year, especially, saw a boost from ongoing Eagle Ford Shale activity, Gossett said, and December was one of the company's best months ever.

"People are spending more money now because they have it," he said, noting people are updating their homes and completing fence work. "We're seeing new people we've never seen before."

Sales aren't the only things growing with the business, either. The company's retail side is also in the midst of expansion.

The Ful-O-Pep Ranch & Garden Center will soon have an additional 50-foot covered section in the garden area, said Nelwyn Robinson, vice president in charge of retail and the San Antonio plant. An outdoor furniture display also will join the mix, as well as a native plant display and antique roses.

Inside, the store will add additional space and introduce new apparel, work-related boots and more.

"Last year was the best year we've had, and that's why we're expanding," Robinson said, "because we know we're growing."

Looking ahead, Gossett said he hopes to continue that company-wide growth, adding new vendors, customers and, perhaps, a new location or two. It takes strategy, he said, explaining the feed side of the business is extremely competitive, while the retail side is all about knowing what to carry.

"It's just staying focused," he said. "You have to keep working, looking for new products. And, in feed, you have to make good products."

Gossett said he looks forward to the years ahead, and said he's going into them with the best preparation possible: his staff.

"My dad used to say a business is only as good as the people who work there," Gossett said, noting many employees have been with Allied nearly as long as the company existed. "They care. That's the difference."



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