The former Twin Valley Ag Co-op now has a Greenway sign on its building.  GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
The former Twin Valley Ag Co-op now has a Greenway sign on its building. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
The Twin Valley Ag Co-op in Chatfield got a new look first and then got a new name a few months ago as the co-op was bought out by Greenway.

"We remodeled last fall and we got back in here around Christmastime," explained John Mueller, the manager of Greenway Co-op. "We made the office two times as big. The old one was done in the early '70s, when paneling was big, so it was time to remodel."

The new, brightly-painted store, formerly known as Twin Valley Ag Co-op, was bought out by Greenway through a vote of the patrons and made effective Sept. 1.

Mueller stated, "Twin Valley Ag remodeled the store and they started talking about a merger with Greenway a year ago. It went to a vote with the patrons last spring and it passed. We added retail space, and we have room for more things to sell."

The shiny new showroom has shelving for birdseed, dog food, lawn and garden equipment and chemicals, tools, oil and more. The company still mixes, bags and hauls its own bulk feed for farmers and works with agronomy out of the St. Charles office, located on a farm Twin Valley Ag purchased approximately five years ago as its main office.

"It's a really nice environment now," Mueller continued. "It's clean, new and bright, and hopefully more people will come and see that we have more than just feed."

That said, Mueller does not want the customers to forget that the Greenway employees mix feed and also take in feed from a couple different sources - Land O' Lakes, Hubbard and Formafeed. He added the store carries dog food, pet foods, bird seed and lawn and garden items as well.

"We carry Cenex oils like they have at the gas station here in town," Mueller said. "There's room here to rotate our stock for the seasons, and it's clean and nice, compared to what it was."

Mueller enjoys standing at the counter of the newly-renovated feed store, perusing what might fit best on what shelf, but he also appreciates the tenets of the Twin Valley Ag-Greenway merger for what they are - an opportunity for survival in a time of dwindling resources for smaller co-ops.

"I've been here for 14 years," he said. "A bigger company has more flexibility down the road and can survive in the market. The pattern is that smaller co-ops are merging with bigger co-ops and that helps them survive because there's less overhead, we can streamline things and have better buying power. There's been a lot going on the last few years with co-ops merging. But things haven't changed much here - we still operate pretty much the same way we did before. It really hasn't changed our product lines much, either. It actually gives people another place to get stuff in town, like if they're using Cenex products, and we're always adding a few things here until we figure out what will sell and what won't sell. It's gone fairly smoothly and the same people are here."

Mueller concluded that even though the name on the sign outside the building and on the company's business cards and promotional calendars has changed, "It's business as usual...just a different name."