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Family opens new ag business

By Staff | Oct 22, 2010

Titan Pro SCI owner Jeff Meints stands in front of his inventory of herbicide at the 70,000-square-foot Titan Pro warehouse and office at Clear Lake. Meints likes to describe the building as “just under two acres.”

CLEAR LAKE – A new customer-oriented family business, in this Cerro Gordo County community, is geared to serve family farms and agribusinesses.

Titan Pro SCI celebrated its first year of business Sept. 1 with president and owner Jeff Meints saying, “It’s been a wild year.”

The beginning of Titan PRO SCI was July 20, 2009 when Jeff Meints and his partner in an ag supply business in Belmond decided to go their separate ways. After being together for 19 years, they each had a different vision of the future, Meints explained.

Titan Pro SCI was the name for the new business although Meints said he was “doing the exact same thing” as he had done with his partner.

Titan Pro carried over 200 dealers from the Belmond company. From July 20 to September Titan Pro put its new name on agreements with suppliers and all official documents.

Meints’ inventory of fertilizer and herbicides arrive in bulk and on pallets where it they are stored or transferred to larger tanks as orders are received from the dealer network. The orders are shipped to the dealers according to customer specifications.

During this time Meints was also looking for a building for his business close to U.S. Interstate 35. He decided on the Mason City-Clear Lake area and set the goal of securing a building and being moved in by Jan. 1.

Meints was shown existing vacant buildings in the Mason City area that could be remodeled to house seed, fertilizer and herbicide, plus have necessary office space. He stopped at Dean Snyder Construction in Clear Lake and told them he was in need of a building by Jan. 1. They told him that was too short of a time frame.

Meints then sought an existing building. However, the next day Snyder Construction contacted him and indicated his timeframe was reasonable.

The two sides reached an agreement on a parcel of bare ground in southeast Clear Lake as a building site. Ground was broken Sept. 1 in a cornfield, which was chopped for silage, on Sept. 2 and started moving dirt Sept. 3.

Cement was poured Oct. 1 and construction of the building began Nov. 2. The building was enclosed by Dec. 15 with two blizzards taking place during construction.

Titan Pro SCI has building with a main area of 70,000-square feet completed by Meints’ goal of Jan. 1. The building was designed with fertilizer and herbicide storage in mind, which includes sloped floors for drainage and other precautions.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Aug. 24 with a public open house. Titan Pro SCI is positioning itself for clients’ fall farming needs, Meints said.

Meints’ dealer network covers seven states with the majority in Iowa and Minnesota. He said Titan Pro SCI has “a unique business model.”

Meints believes in the strength of selling through local farmer-dealers while having the advantage of a high volume business that is able to buy a large quantity at a savings.

Offering seed, chemicals, and crop insurance, Meints is seeking customers who are looking to bundle their purchases.

Meints said about 70 of his 200 farmer-dealers have completed the licensing necessary to sell crop insurance. Meints wants his dealers to actually serve as dealers, not just use Titan Pro SCI for their own operation.

Titan Pro SCI farmer dealers are spaced about 10 to 15 miles apart, but there is no designated franchise area. Sales are made by the dealer and the product is delivered to the dealer by Titan Pro SCI.

Meints uses one price for all Titan Pro SCI customers. A farm of 500 acres receives the same price as 5,000 acres. Customers, whether buying 10 bags or 1,000 bags, share in volume pricing.

Meints said Titan Pro SCI will avoid what he called “pricing gimmicks,” meaning there will be no promotional items, such as jackets, used as incentives for sales.

Titan Pro SCI employs 16 people in the office and six full time people in the warehouse. There are four Titan Pro agronomists. During peak business, there are 15 truck drivers employed.

Meints said he sees Titan Pro SCI as a “customer-oriented family business to be proud of.” His employees include his wife and all five of their children.

Contact Clayton Rye at crye@wctatel.com.

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