Kahle Supply & Feed Mill
Kahle Supply & Feed Mill (Kahle Supply) is a wholesale grain supplier located in Kalida, Ohio. The business originated 76 years ago with Cy Kahle. After his untimely death, the company was taken over by his wife, Frances Kahle, for the next 20 years. Frances maintained the family business with the help of her son, Norman, who eventually took on the responsibility of running the day-to-day operations. After growing up in the family business, Norman's son Gary started working with the company in 1984. Continuing with the family business throughout his school years, Gary would eventually take on the role of vice president.
Above and beyond
Servicing the local farming community within a 30-mile radius, Kahle Supply has long maintained a loyal customer base. Gary attributes this success to possessing state-of-the-art equipment and always focusing on excellent customer service. "Service has always been a big thing for us," Gary says. "We like to meet with the farmers we work with once a month to see how we're doing."
Kahle Supply has remained at the original location started by Cy for the last 76 years. However, maintaining the operation at the single location does not come without its challenges. As with many small businesses, the cost of health care for Kahle Supply’s seven employees is one of the many challenges the company has been forced to overcome in the past few years. This, of course, is a challenge that Gary is happy to take on. "They get up, come to work every day and work hard so they deserve to be taken care of,” he details. Of course, there is also the challenge of standing out from the competition, which Gary believes Kahle Supply accomplishes by constantly upgrading equipment.
"We're looking into getting another grain setup to handle the fall harvest because a lot of times you have corn and beans coming in at the same time so we'd like to have another dump so we can keep them separate and speed the process up,” Gary explains. He also attributes the company’s success to high-quality products, which include corn, wheat and beans.
The fickle weather system associated with the Midwest is a challenge to contend with, where there is an average temperature range of 100 degrees from summer to winter. "We do have insurance for the instance of a natural disaster, such as a drought or very wet spring,” Gary notes. “Fortunately, weather hasn't been too much of an issue with us as far as any natural disasters are concerned, but you always have to be prepared."
Though the name of the company remains the same, the actual feed mill has been absent from the production since 2013, due to lack of demand for the service.
"The equipment was getting old and there was hardly any feed business anymore." Gary details. Upon this decision, Gary chose to be as efficient as possible with the space that he has; he decided to convert the feed mill storage area into the company warehouse. Kahle Supply also owns and operates a fleet of three semi-trailer trucks.
Family service with a smile
A family-owned company since 1939, Gary takes great pride in his employees. "They really care about the business,” he says.
As many small business owners are aware, the relationship between employees and customers, as well as strategic partners, is vital to the strength and growth of the company. Aspects Kahle Supply employees enjoy about the company include the diversification of the typical work day. "There's something different going on every day,” Gary elaborates. “There are always different customers to talk to and different farmers to work with."
When harvest season arrives, the long hours in the work day can take a toll on any individual in this industry. Gary feels his people know the importance of arriving early and staying late. "They really care about the business,” he says proudly. “It's more of a career than a job for them."
While Gary works six days a week, he has two of his three sons working by his side, while his daughter Brittany, 17, still attends school. The sons are learning the business with the hope that the fourth generation of the Kahle family will one day take over the business. Justin, 25, is working full-time at Kahle Supply, while also attending grain marketing classes. Brandon, 22, is also working with company while obtaining his pesticide license.
"A lot of farmers are going farm-direct and they're getting bigger, and getting their own semis but they can still go through us and that's where our great customer service comes in to play." Gary states. Currently in the third generation of ownership, Kahle Supply & Feed Mill is looking to grow while maintaining the small business atmosphere and excellent service to customers.