Location: Van Buren, Ark.
CEO: Jay Carter
History: Farmer’s Coop started more than 70 years ago in Fort Smith, Ark., and has spread throughout western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. The Coop expanded until it is now an organization of 18 retail centers, including the Van Buren location, which was purchased in the 1980s and serves as corporate headquarters for the entire organization.
“Personally, I worked for 32 years with Purina starting in Lubbock, Texas, and completed my career with Purina in business and retail development,” CEO Jay Carter said. “Even though I liked my job, I had lost my passion. I began to search for a new challenge and prayed for guidance. At the same time, the current CEO of the organization, Gene Bruick, was also praying and looking for someone to take his place. We found each other, and Gene, now 87, still works part-time out of his original office in Fort Smith. We have a large campus which includes the corporate offices and retail center, a gas station/tire shop, a shop building with two bays for repair work and maintenance on equipment such as trucks and fertilizer buggies, and a fertilizer building plus a bulk feed facility that delivers straight to the farm.”
Products and Services: “The largest part of our business is selling feed. We carry Purina, ADM and MFA feed, as well as our own Riverstone brand. We sell bulk feed, fertilizer and fuel in addition to a large variety of farm supplies including fencing wire, animal health products, farm equipment and pet food. Another source of revenue comes from agronomy products which are of tremendous importance in the River Valley and the flatlands of Oklahoma. Among these products are crop protection, fertilizer and seeds, some treated for germination and health protection. We sell lawn and garden supplies as well as weed control products from lawn to pastures and Priefert, Tater and WW livestock equipment.”
Business Philosophy and the Future: “I strive to hire people ‘smarter’ than me and with divine guidance, to foster an organization that provides secure, long-term employment. I take care of my folks so they can take care of our members and customers.”