Castle Valley Co-op business spotlight
At the July Lunch and Learn the local business spotlight was the Castle Valley Co-op. Mistie Christiansen was the presenter. She said she started as a bookkeeper for the Co-op in April 2011. In December of that year she was promoted to manager. She said the Co-op employs 17 people. When she came on board she was startled to learn there was $400,000 extended in credit to Co-op customers. The Co-op also owed money to vendors. This was a huge amount for a small business. Christiansen began talking to Mike McCandless at the Emery County Economic Development to see what could be done to help. With the help of the Emery County Economic Development Council and the Southeastern Utah Association of Governments the Co-op was able to obtain loans to keep functioning. Credit was cut off to smaller customers but still extended to larger customers. It has made a difference. The money has been paid down by $300,000. Steps are still being made to turn around the books. These are hard times for the farmers and ranchers, with the drought and the fire, hay is in short supply. Things have been challenging.
Christiansen believes there is a market out there they aren't reaching. Research says that 65 percent of the people who buy tires are female. Tires are a big item for the Co-op and they can meet or beat most prices for tires. She said they are working to make the Co-op a more inviting store. The farmers wife will usually do the pricing for the items needed around the farm like tires. She would like to market more to the women to let them know what the Co-op has to offer its customers. In addition to tires the Co-op sells gas, bulk feed with deliveries, and fertilizer. Household items, gardening supplies and much more await Co-op customers.
Christiansen said they can have any tire ordered in within three days. They don't stock a large inventory of tires which helps them keep the prices down. She appreciates the support the community has offered the Co-op over the years and during this difficult time of readjustment. Christiansen said the future looks brighter and she appreciates the business chamber for inviting her to spotlight the Castle Valley Co-op. She encouraged everyone to come in and see what the Co-op has to offer.
The Castle Valley Co-op has two locations one in Ferron and one in Huntington.