In the case of Tarter Gate in Casey County, KY, the marketplace constraint was growing competition from
Though they didn’t start by calling it “lean,” the company had been focused on continuous improvement for some time. Their retail customers aren’t required to order truckload quantities as they are by other companies, and can count on 7-10 days lead time. The products themselves are high-quality and well-suited to the needs of farmers – the Tarters still operate a cattle farm themselves. But none of that counts if you don’t get the orders.
So the Tarter family engaged The Idea Farm, a marketing agency in nearby
Now the Kentucky Bluegrass horse breeders can choose innovative horse feeding baskets from the Tarter Equestrian World line. Keeps the hay from getting soggy and it’s easy to clean. (Don’t you just hate soggy hay?) The American Farmland 10-ft heavy-duty grain feeder is stackable and can also be easily joined to more units to create as long a trough as the farmer needs. The Billy Goat Gruff Goat Gofer cage fits in the bed of a pickup truck and is designed to transport those “cunning escape artists.” Customers are also using the Gofers to transport dogs and game. (Hmm…maybe it’s a way to control those two black Labs that are chewing the furniture when you’re not home. They looked so cute when they were puppies, didn’t they?) Terrain Tough/Hunter’s Specialties are also helping to capture customers.
The new product line identities allow Tarter to effectively use advertising to support retailers by getting end-user customers into their stores. Tarter Gate has expanded. They now have a facility in
Tarter Gate took home the 2006 Manufacturer of the Year by the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers. They are sponsoring a Kentucky Farm Bureau Excellence in Agriculture program that helps young farmers improve livestock genetics, facilities and production systems. Tarter also was named 2006 Vendor of the Year by the Do it Best Corporation. Jay Brown, VP of merchandising for Do it Best, said that Tarter Gate helps member stores stay profitable and never stops looking for new ways to provide products and services that help member stores set themselves apart from their competition. Sounds like customer focus to me.
Tarter Gate’s success and renewal has special meaning for me. Although my great-grandfather moved on from