Todays blog is part II there are still several more parts to this blog to be added in the next several days.
Osage Valley Pecan cracking is another family business owned and operated by Fred, Mildred, Ronnie and Marcelle Marquardt. It is a very busy place from mid October to Christmas.
The pecans are picked up by a pecan picker at the Osage Valley Pecan Orchard near Papinville and brought to Rich Hill.
The pecans have all sorts of leaves, sticks, rocks and faulty pecans when they are brought in and placed on an elevator. Four women stand at the belt and each has a job of cleaning the trash from the pecans. Air is also used to blow out the trash. The pecans are then put on another elevator and graded into four sizes. Next they are poured into a tub and washed and put onto a roller that takes them to bins with wire bottoms where they dry for a day or more as needed. Then the pecans are sent on to eleven machines where they are cracked and dropped to a belt where the sackers put them up in five-pound bags ready for shipment.
Big trucks come in from as near as Iowa and as far as New York and take truck loads of the sacks to be sold from the East Coast to the West Coast.
Business is done by people who Come from far and near, by telephone, and by mail order. Clubs and organizations buy large amounts of pecans. The output can be as much as a thousand pounds a day. This enterprise is state inspected every year. ,
Fred and Mildred have been in this business since 1956 and employ eight people in addition to themselves.
At the southeast edge of town, I found the Rich Hill and Truck and Equipment Company, Inc. doing a thriving business. Ten years ago Lester and Jim Breckenridge started this enterprise and have continually expanded until today they have 65'Xl'02' building, a 40'X60' sand blast building, and have recently acquired an electric compressor.
The Breckenridges represent the Henderson Manufacturing Company and sell feed delivery trucks (used by elevators and feed companies) truck bodies, fertilizer spreaders and blenders, grain bodies, truck hoists and new and used Chevrolet trucks. They buy these trucks on a fleet purchase.Their sale territory covers Eastern Kansas, Western Missouri and Northeast Oklahoma. Jim told me that if they had the personal they could expand into Northeast Oklahoma. The equipment sells than they can get from the factory and orders taken in October will be ready for delivery in December.
Jim attributes the success of this enterprose to the service given to their, customers. They sell parts and repair all equipment they have sold. An example is that of a customer in Wichita, who needed immediate repairs. Jim flew there and in two hours the repairs had been made. They use their plane as a service tool and sometimes fly as far as Florida to look over equipment before a sale. When equipment is purchased it is driven back to Rich Hill and put on the lot for sale. .
Twelve people (all from Rich Hill) are employed including Bonnie Reed, the secretary who handles-only parts calls, Shirley Tourtillott, the secretary who handles all the other phone calls and does other secretarial work including the compiling and mailing of a weekly newsletter that lists all the used equipment they have for sale. Peggy Breckenridge is the overall bookkeeper.
One week's payroll will run from $3,000 to $3500 and the gross annual sales will run approximately $2,000,000.
The Sohigro Service Company, a division of Vistron Corporation sells liquid and dry fertilizer, chemicals, seed, and feed to the local farmers. Gary Headley has been the manager since 1975 and recently won, "The Manager of the Year" award for the Western District. Mrs. Darlene Nation is the secretary and bookkeeper.
McElroy Feed and Grain is another big business operating on old Highway 71 South. Mr. McElroy and his son Jerry told me that all their bins were full and the grain continued to come in. They buy, store and sell grain, custom grind feed, mix grain, dry grain, and do seed cleaning.
Mr. McElroy has four tractor trailer trucks, and Jerry has one that are used to haul the grain to Iowa and Arkansas. Nine people are employed with an $80,000 to $90,000 pay roll annually.
In addition to the elevator Mr. McElroy owns a garage where the trucks and cars are repaired. Kenny Kassner and Greg Skocy are the two fulltime mechanics employed here.
The Rich Hill Grain Company is another elevator owned by Frank Bartley and located in the old Frisco Depot on Seventh and Maple. Mr. Bartley has three tractor trailer trucks, a straight bed feed bag truck, and a bulk truck. He employs one man to help with the elevator, three truck drivers and Nancy Swarnes Fillpot and Allene Duzan as secretaries. His trucks haul grain to Missouri, Arkansas and Iowa.
The Rich Hill Grain Company handles agricultural chemical, insecticides, feed, seed, and bag and bulk fertilizer