THE HISTORY OF GERBER & SONS,
Founded in 1905, Gerber & Sons has withstood the test of time and continues to provide high-quality, locally manufactured, livestock and poultry feeds to customers in east central Ohio.
Located on the same site as the present day Gerber & Sons at Baltic, The Seth Gerber Co. began operation as a buyer and seller of seeds and fertilizers for area farmers. The company grew by providing a market for local producers to sell harvested seeds and grains.
By the early 1920s, the company had grown in volume and stature and capitalized on rail line at Baltic, loading and transporting railcars of bagged, locally grown seeds out of the area.
Seth's son, Percy, joined the business, which became "Seth Gerber and Son" and in 1924 became the sole owner. He began offering grain milling services to customers who wished to feed homegrown grains to their animals. Unlike today, feed mills were a relatively new enterprise because farmers did not feed much grain to their production stock. What grains they fed they processed themselves, as livestock depended mostly upon seasonal forages to support their seasonal production cycle.
With the advent of university research into animal nutrition and the implementation of nutritional recommendations these traditions began to change. Percy Gerber's decision to offer feed milling services along with providing nutritional recommendations was a concept upon which future generations of Gerber's would build. Percy's idea was the first step toward manufacturing a complete line of livestock and poultry feeds. The trade name "Bob White Feeds" was adopted at that time and is still used today.
In 1934, Percy's eldest son Bob joined the company. The business flourished, and with improvements in design and manufacturing Percy and Bob led the company and its customers into the modern era of manufacturing feed based upon scientifically proven nutritional concepts
In 1953, upon Percy's passing, Bob was joined by his brother Dean. The two brothers formally created the corporation still in operation as Gerber & Sons Inc., manufacturers of "Bob White Feeds". Under Dean's leadership, the sale of manufactured feeds expanded and more improvements were made. A pellet mill was installed, ingredient selection and capacity expanded, more load out bins were added, storage facilities were purchased, the sales of home and garden and animal health supplies expanded, and an office building and a retail sales area was established.
With this growth came a need for an expanded sales force and specialized operation and management personell. In 1967, Bob's son Gary was hired as a salesman and was the first member of the fourth generation since Seth Gerber to carry on the family tradition. Although retired from day-to-day service, Gary is now vice-president of the firm.
The 1970's brought more growth, with mill operations at near capacity and more improvements being made. During this era, broiler feed represented the largest production category and total tonnage was running about 30,000 tons per year. Then disaster struck.
On August 24, 1974, fire destroyed the pellet milling and feed manufacturing operations, but the custom grinding operation was saved. Cleanup efforts ensued and construction of a new mill began in 1975. In December of that year manufacturing operations once again were underway. The second modern era of manufacturing Bob White Feeds had begun.
Dean's son, Mike, joined the company in 1976 as Accounting Manager and since then the company has continued to expand and professionalize. The first non-family outside salesman and nutritional advisor, Doug Davis, was hired in 1981 when Bob Gerber fully retired. In 1992, Mike assumed the position of General Manager and President, and Doug assumed the position of Secretary, Treasurer and Sales Manager. Under Mike's leadership more salesmen were added to meet the demand for the company's products and services, which continues to grow today. After Mike's untimely passing in July of 2009 Tom Gerber was elected President of the Board of Directors, Doug Davis became General Manager and Treasurer, and Todd Wise, with the firm since 1990, was elected Secretary.
Today the independent, regional feed manufacturer produces more than 80,000 tons of feed per year, has 40 employees who are mindful of the fruits and blessings they have received, and continues to grow and be profitable.
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