|Ventura Grain in business for 80 years
Charles Winokoor, Taunton Gazette Business Writer
TAUNTON "You don't stay in business for four generations by standing still."
When the late Arthur Ventura opened Ventura Grain in 1924 it was to make
and sell feed to dairy and chicken farmers, as well as other regular folk who
kept animals in their backyards either for food or labor. The original building
at 148 Longmeadow Road was a two-stall garage. Over the years, however,
the building grew to include a 95-foot elevator and overhead bins.
And now nearly 80 years later the family-run business still manufactures and
sells its own brand of feed to animal owners.
But with far fewer local farms in business, animal owners now days are more
likely to show or race a horse than put it to work and pamper a rabbit for its
fur than cook it.
"We're still here" said Paul Ventura, 51, one of three grandsons of the
company's patriarch, all of whom put in 60 to 65 hour workweeks and the
son of Arthur, 77, who still comes in to help out.
The youngest contributor to the family cause is Paul's daughter Jessica,
24-year old graduate of UMass Dartmouth's biology department. Her
responsibility is running the rapidly growing retail store the family opened
three years ago.
Paul Ventura said when his grandfather got started there were 13 feed
stores and four feed manufactures in Taunton. Now he estimates there are a
just a handful of feed stores in the area and, including his, only two active
feed mills in the entire state.
It was in the early part of the 1960's, he said, that his father Arthur took the
major step of investing in new machines and different feeds, most notably
Ventura said pellets are made from soybean, corn and wheat products and
are mixed by the company's nutritionist. They are used to feed horses,
sheep, rabbits and chickens and are more nutritional than basic wheat and
oats, he added.
"You could eat it", said his father, Arthur Ventura. "There is nothing in there
you would die from."
The Ventura's market their own brand of feed under the name Everyday
Feeds, both in their store and to accounts in Massachusetts, Connecticut
and Rhode Island. Deliveries are made via two company tractor-trailers and
a handful of small trucks.
The retail store, which also stocks everything from rock salt and grass seed
to waterproof boots and rabbit hutches, now accounts for 30 percent of
Jessica Ventura said further growth will depend in large part in increased
sales to landscapers and homeowners. She said they currently sell to
approximately 50 local landscapers.
Ventura said she didn't get into the business out of necessity or a sense of
familial obligation. She could have worked in a research lab but felt deprived
by the lack of human contact.
"I missed the interaction with people." she said.
Ventura hasn't lost her passion for science, She said she utilizes her
educational background on the job for pH testing and various pet health
"There's tons of science. You just have to find it." She said. "I love it."
And although the company her great grandfather started eight decades ago
continues to prosper and grow, she also admits there is no predicting the
"We'll still be here to sustain it for as long as we can." Ventura said. "But it's
possible I could be the last generation."
|A little on how it
|148 Longmeadow Road
Taunton, MA (508) 824-7292