A Fashion of Farming
The Morgans have a long history of family and farming in the Ozarks. “Our family moved to Johnson County in 1857. We've been in the Mt. Olive community since 1876. I was raised on a farm and it didn't take me long to realize that if I wanted to keep farming that I would have to have a job to support it,” David Morgan said.
Driving through Clarksville, Ark., it is almost impossible to miss Morgan's Fashions at the busy intersection of Rogers Avenue and Main Street. David and his wife DeAnna display the latest fashions in the large windows on two sides of the former Gulf gas station. Across the street, in a bright red building, a Quiznos Sub Sandwich Shop offers dozens of sandwich, soup and salad choices.
The couple's two sons – Rocky and Jonathan, grew up working in the store. Now, Rocky owns and manages the Quiznos. He and his wife Ashley, who teaches first grade at Clarksville Primary school – have one daughter, Graceanne. Jonathan is currently attending Arkansas Tech University and manages the men's side of the store “I've been working in the store since I was 13. It's second nature. Just like the farm,” Jonathan said.
Owning and operating businesses doesn’t keep the Morgans from their first love, farming. David, Rocky and Jonathan all work together, around busy schedules, to keep their 100-head beef cattle operation successful. “The store opens late so I am able to take care of the cows during calving season. In the summer, the boys do most of the haying,” David said.
"We have a total of three herds. We lease 100 acres for hay and pasture for about 25 cow-calf pairs. Then, we have 75 Angus-Gelbvieh momma cows at the home place that is 200 acres with about 60 acres of hay. In the next couple of years we will try to get a combined 120 head. “About two years ago I bought 26 Charolais cows that I run with an Angus bull,” said Jonathan.
“We grow all of our own replacement heifers. We select for high growth rates, low birth weight and high milk production. Our birth weights average 70 lbs. or lower," said Rocky. “Once a year we take our calf crop to Oklahoma City.”
“In the early 1970s Clarksville was growing. I knew that I wanted to be self-employed. I had a close friend that was in the clothing business who showed me the ropes," David said.
Over the years, the business grew to five other stores, but they have since cut down to the Clarksville and Ozark locations. “There just wasn't enough of me to go around," David laughed.
“We also have a John Deere mail order business,” Jonathan said. The selection ranges from work boots to Barbies and collectible tractors.
“The people are the most rewarding part of this business. Even on Christmas Eve, this is a great place to be. Some people only come in once a year to shop. Bur every year, it's nice to see them again. We are so thankful for the community. We have been given more than what we can give,” David said.