Eye on Agribuisness
Manager: Dean Estep
Location: Rogers, Ark., one-half mile northeast of the Rogers Municipal Airport on U.S. 62
Company History: Benny Wheeler founded Wheeler Metals in 1968 in Muskogee, Okla., and added the stores in Rogers, Ark., and Springfield, Mo., within the past five years. Dean Estep, a Coal Hill, Ark., native, has been with the company 10 years.
Products and Services: “Wheeler Metals is the largest steel and pipe dealer in Northwest Arkansas, and we probably have one of the largest steel buildings in this area. This site has 8 acres of steel, plus 37,000 square feet of steel under roof. Our showroom has a lot of products in it. Naturally, as steel dealers, we carry everything from steel pipe to angles to flats to sheet metal to building components. We’re a full-service steel yard, but we are not a steel mill. Our steel products include trailer parts, axles, wheels, tires, springs, tugs. Anything on a trailer that could break, we have in stock; or you can make your own from everything we have in stock. We have welders (hobby, engine-driven and so forth), and we carry certain welding supplies but only sell Lincoln products. Also, we sell cargo containers.”
What are the company's biggest challenges?
“Price is first, then transportation and fuel is second because we have to pick up our steel by tractor-trailer. The market is a lot tighter today than it was six months ago."
How do you connect?
“Many of our customers are farmers. My dad was a farmer, and ever since I was big enough, I went down to the bottoms with him. I farmed for 21 years, and one of these days, I might buy another farm. But, I know what they are going through – I went through the same thing that they are going through right now – so I know their particular challenges and needs. We try to meet that by supplying a quality product at a fair price.”