Farm Horizons, November 2010

Waconia Farm Supply acquires Hennepin Cooperative

By Ryan Gueningsman
Delano Herald Journal Managing Editor

Waconia Farm Supply has expanded its current locations and merged with Hennepin Cooperative. Locations in Maple Plain, Dayton, and Rush City are now Waconia Farm Supply.

The acquisition of Hennepin Cooperative took place Sept. 1.

“With this merger, we acquired a full feed retail store in Maple Plain, right off of Highway 12, a full feed retail store in Dayton, and a c-store only in Rush City,” said Waconia Farm Supply Marketing Coordinator Tom Church. “We are extremely excited about the opportunity we have with these locations. This now gives us a presence in almost all areas west of the Twin Cities.”

Church said Waconia Farm Supply is welcoming the patrons of Hennepin Cooperative and looking forward to serving their needs in the near future.

“Waconia Farm Supply has taken many exciting steps forward in their 64-year existence, and hopes to continue this trend,” Church said, adding that the locations are considered “one-stop shops” for a number of things, including hardware and paint, rental, fuel and propane, feed, and a number of other items and services.

History of Waconia Farm Supply

• Founded in 1946, the Waconia Creamery Association purchased the Waconia Elevator Association.

• In 1955, a 30,000-gallon LP tank was installed to serve propane cylinder fills and home heating customers.

• In 1962, moved business to its current Waconia location, off of Highway 5 and Highway 284.

• In 1966, the Waconia Creamery Association closed the creamery and reorganized the Farm Supply department.

• In 1975-1975, expanded the current Waconia location.

• In 1978, began paying patronage out to customers.

• In 1979, purchased an anhydrous plant, located in New Germany.

• In 1985, current General Manager Michael Loscheider was hired.

• In 1987, expanded its service department shop, as well as the feed warehouse.

• In 1988, added its fuel and fertilizer plants.

• In 1991, acquired its Hamburg location.

• In 1993, acquired its Cologne location.

• In 1995, added its recreational vehicle department to the Waconia location (includes: Arctic Cat, Cub Cadet, Exmark, Suzuki, Toro, Stihl, Echo, Gehl).

• In 2003, acquired the Delano location.

• Remodeled the interior and exterior of the Waconia location in 2009.

• In August 2010, began the building of a permanent garden center structure in Waconia.

• As of Sept. 1, 2010, merged with Hennepin Cooperative and have taken over the day-to-day operations. Locations include Maple Plain, Dayton, and Rush City, which is a c-store only.

In 1946, the Waconia Creamery Association purchased the Waconia Elevator Association and hired John Scheuble to oversee the closing of the elevator business, establishing a subsidiary of the creamery.

The building was originally located on Highway 5, adjacent to the Waconia Mill on land leased from the railroad. The machinery lot was located across the highway on the northeast corner of Elm Street and Highway 5. The farm supply sold coal, feed, flour, seed, farm machinery and parts, milk machine parts, twine, and fertilizer.

In 1955, a 30,000-gallon LP (propane) storage tank was installed and the sale of LP tanks and bulk LP to private homes began. The plant included a facility to fill smaller 20-pound to 100-pound portable LP cylinders.

By 1961, the business had outgrown its building, and a search for a more modern facility began. In 1962, an agreement was reached with John Fischer, who owned a parcel of land south of the railroad tracks, fronting Highway 284.

He agreed to put up a building to meet the needs of this expanding business, and offered a 20-year lease with the option to buy.

On March 1, 1963, the new building opened with an expanded line including hardware, appliances, animal health supplies, and eventually, work clothing.

They also installed an LP rocket tank and pumper adjacent to the new building to enable them to continue filling LP cylinders for their growing clientèle.

In 1966, the Waconia Creamery Association Board of Directors decided to close the creamery, and they began reorganizing the cooperative to continue only their farm supply department. After leasing the creamery building to several different businesses, the building was sold in 1974, and by 1975, the cooperative officially was named Waconia Farm Supply.

The business continued to grow as lines of farm machinery and lawn and garden equipment were added. In 1975-76, the building was expanded to include a larger shop and more store area. A new feed warehouse was also built.

The cooperative was able to pay off the creamery’s outstanding loans from the St. Paul bank of cooperatives and in 1978, it began retiring equities to its patrons. It has continued to return some portion of these equities to its patrons on an annual basis since then.

John and Maryanne Fischer decided, in 1979, to sell the parcel of land that was occupied by Waconia Farm Supply, and the cooperative agreed to purchase the site. That year also saw the purchase of an anhydrous ammonia plant in New Germany to enable the cooperative to better serve its farm customers.

John Scheuble retired Sept. 30, 1980, and Timothy Dahl took over management until 1985, when present General Manager Michael Loscheider was hired.

A refined fuel plant was purchased from Flite Oil Co. in 1982, and Waconia Farm Supply added delivery of bulk gasoline, diesel fuel, and furnace fuel to its customer services.

As farm machinery and lawn and garden equipment sales increased, the need for a larger shop became evident. In 1987, an expanded shop area and enlarged feed warehouse were added.

In 1988, construction began on a complete fertilizer facility, which enabled Waconia Farm Supply to provide better and more complete agronomy services to its patrons at competitive prices.

That same year, a new underground, refined fuel plant was added. In 1991, the LP storage was moved to its present location on the south end of the Waconia Farm Supply parcel, and another 30,000-gallon storage tank was added as the service area continued to expand.

Waconia Farm Supply continued to grow and expand with the purchase of the Hamburg Clark Feed Mill in 1991, and Cologne Milling in 1993. Adding these two facilities allowed Waconia Farm Supply to better serve the bulk feed needs of its customers.

Also, in 1993, the main building was again expanded to add office space, retail store area, and more parts and shop area. At that same time, the retail establishment became known as Waconia Farm and Home Supply. In 1995, a snowmobile, ATV, and watercraft line was added.

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