Posted on September 20, 2019 by admin
There’s still a sign on the top leg of the premix plant at Cowlick Minerals Ltd. in Innisfail that reads “Gole & Sons.”
The sign, like the business itself, has stood the test of time and represents a rich history encompassing not only the feed industry and evolution of local agriculture in central Alberta but also long intertwined roots of family, community and farming spanning Didsbury, Innisfail and the broader region.
The roots of Cowlick and the Gole family business legacy go back to one of the region’s first feed mills, in Didsbury, a facility built on the property where the Rosebud Pancake Flour Mill, had once stood. This flour mill was purchased by Allen Gole, Jim’s father, in 1951. Allen and his son Stan rebuilt and operated the mill, known as Gole and Son, for a number of years until the twins, Herb and Jim became old enough to help with the responsibility and operation of the feed mill.
This initial business evolved into Gole & Sons in the 60s, a full feed facility with expanded ownership including Jim and his two brothers Stan and Herb, which became a well-known staple of the province’s feed industry.
The family also owned the Innisfail mill, which was purchased in the 60’s. This feed mill burned down in the late 1960’s and in the aftermath, the business was rebuilt as the current vitamin / premix business. The forerunner of Cowlick Minerals was incorporated as Innisfail Producers Ltd. in 1970.
Jim and Susan Gole bought out the business from the other partners in 1999 and changed the name in 2000 to Cowlick Minerals, now in its 20th year of operation.
“It was a big decision when we took over” says Susan, “and it’s amazing to think we’ve gone 20 years with it. I think for the past 10 we’ve been considering a shift and always said okay, one more year. That shows how much we’ve enjoyed the business and the many relationships. Jim in particular really appreciates the daily interactions with customers. They are always calling him for advice – he enjoys it and has a lot of knowledge to share.”
Now Cowlick Minerals is entering a new chapter.
Jim and Susan Gole, have announced the sale of Cowlick Minerals to new ownership, Country Junction Feeds, which official took effect Sept. 1, 2019.
The news is particularly meaningful to many of the local beef producers who have been like an extended family to the Goles over many years, relying upon the supply, service and advice of Cowlick and its predecessors as a staple of their farming and ranching approaches.
“It’s the end of an era in many ways,” says Jim Gole. “At the same time, we are very happy to see the business continue on a strong path. At some point it became much more than just a business. It’s part of not only our family but the local communities and the history of the region. Susan and I are grateful for the many relationships and friendships, past and present, that we have enjoyed as part of the business. It has been a great journey and now it is time for the next generation of the business.”
Remarkable legacy and valued relationships
The loyal customer relationships, now spanning numerous decades and evolutions in the local agricultural industry have helped Cowlick Minerals and its predecessors build a rare and proud legacy as one of Western Canada’s most enduring and trusted suppliers of quality feed and premixes.
Today, Cowlick Minerals primarily serves cow-calf operators, featuring a full line of CFIA registered products including loose minerals, pressed blocks and molasses-based tub supplements. It is also registered to use medicated ingredients.
The business has enjoyed a long run of success supported a loyal customer base, including particularly strong relationships with the many family-run cow-calf operations within a 100-mile radius of the plant. The cornerstone of Cowlick’s success has been Jim’s extensive history, relationships and feed knowledge combined with Susan’s strong overall management and administrative support.
Susan Gole brought experience in advertising and feed industries to Cowlick and authored all policies and procedures while overseeing administration including regulatory obligations for the business. She leaves Cowlick in excellent standing as a turn-key business with all policies and procedures in place for a continued successful operation.
Fittingly, Cowlick has been sold to Country Junction Feeds, which itself is among the most established Alberta-based feed businesses, with roots reaching back over 100 years. Country Junction Feeds is managed by Darrell Kimmel, representing another family name with deep roots anchored in Didsbury and surrounding areas.
Jim Gole will stay on in a senior sales and nutrition role as the company integrates with Country Junction Feeds.
“Our families – the Kimmels and Goles – go way back in the Didsbury area and have shared a great relationship for a long time,” says Darrell Kimmel.
“On a personal note I would like to recognize and to thank Jim and Susan for their dedication to building Cowlick Minerals over the past 20 years As Country Junction Feeds we look forward to working with Jim to ensure continued outstanding service to Cowlick Minerals customers. We also want to upgrade the plant to further benefit these customers and to fit our broader long term business plans.”
The horizons are bright as the next chapter begins, says Jim Gole. “We have been truly honoured to work with local producers over the past 20 years and now the journey for Cowlick Minerals continues under the new ownership. Susan and I sincerely thank all of our customers past and present for the support over the years. I personally look forward to continuing as part of the Country Junction Team. Our customers can expect the same quality and service provided by Cowlick Minerals to continue.”
Beef producers with questions regarding Cowlick Minerals can phone Darrell Kimmel at 780-312-5760. More information about this story is also available by contacting Brad Brinkworth at 587-897-7405. The main office number for Cowlick Minerals is 403-227-3772. More information on Country Junction Feeds is available at www.countryjunctionfeeds.com.