Stockyards Ranch Supply, a long-time Denver establishment
January 18, 2018
Tom C. Jordan was 18 when his dad's asthma prompted a move out of Iowa.
In 1949 Jordan ended up in Aurora, Colo., and within a few years started to work at Barr Lumber in Denver, two weeks after it opened near the Denver Coliseum.
In the early 1960s, the company was for sale, and Jordan purchased the business. It's now Stockyards Ranch Supply, and it's still owned and operated by the Jordan family.
FROM LUMBER TO AG
In Iowa, Jordan's family raised crops and livestock, and he wanted his business to cater to that community. When Jordan first purchased the store, it was just a lumberyard, and he wanted to switch the focus to the agriculture industry.
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Jordan's family raised crops and livestock, but his father's asthma became a problem, so the family moved. They first went to Cheyenne, then to Colorado Springs, but settled in 1949 in Aurora when Jordan was 18.
"He really enjoyed the agricultural people the most," his son, Tom H. Jordan said.
Tom C. died in 2012, a few years after he fully stepped away from the business, but Tom H. said he continues to carry on the same business practices and principles his father did, including the agriculture focus.
In 1970 he realized he needed more space and the area of Denver the shop was located in didn’t allow for expansion. So Tom C. moved the business four miles north to Commerce City, letting the lumberyard go and focusing on ag supplies. An additional perk of the new location was the improved accessibility.
While the stockyard was Tom C.'s main business, he never got away from his ranching roots, and in 1990 he bought some land in Elbert County for grazing some cattle.
A FAMILY BUSINESS
Tom H. grew up in the company. He worked there growing up and is now the owner.
He said there wasn't a thought he would do anything else with his career.
Tom H. took over the business in the 1990s and his dad stayed involved until 2009 — three years before he passed. Tom H.'s mom also was involved in the business, working "everyday after 1970," before stepping back as well in 2010.
His brother and sister were involved with the business, too, until other career opportunities presented themselves. His brother left in 1997 to become a pilot full-time, right now working with Frontier Airlines.
There was a shared love of planes, which came from Tom C. He used to fly out of the former Stapleton Airport, after he bought his first airplane — an aircoupe — after he got married.
Tom H.'s sister also worked at the store until she decided to stay home full time after she had kids.
But Tom H. isn't the last of his family to work at his dad's store. His daughters, Anna and Katy Jordan, and his nephew, Russ Steem have carried on the tradition. Anna and Katy worked at the store through high school, and have stayed with the company after they finished college.
It's a good company, he said.
Tom H. said he still holds onto and follows the example his dad set for him in business. Examples such as staying competitive or even as simple as paying bills quickly are habits Tom H. got from his father. They're the qualities that keep the business going to this day.
"Dad taught me how to work, and he set a fine example on how to take care of business and make things happen," Tom H. said.
That can account for the family keeping a lot of the same clientele through the years.
Tom H. said even though some customers have changed, many are part of the same families his dad worked with.
"We sell to the same families of the customers dad originally sold to," Tom H. said. "And some of them have moved on. Sometimes the kids these days aren't as interested as their parents were in the ag business."
Even though Tom H. took over the family business, he knows that's as common agriculture as it used to be.
"There's fewer customers, there's a dwindling," he said, but they haven't changed the focus away from livestock products and equipment. But the need for items such as fencing materials continues, and having customers in Nebraska, New Mexico and Kansas helps, too.
"Times change, and no company lasts forever," he said. "There's the eventuality that the market place will change. … But right now it looks good."
He said he maintains the same level of inventory and keeps the business a quality one. That's how he keeps Stockyards Ranch Supply competitive and customers coming back, even if the numbers aren't what they used to be as the shift from agriculture continues.
But there aren't plans to swift the company focus, either.
It wouldn't be the same business, and Tom H. enjoys what he does. And like his dad, his customers are a big bonus.
"The Colorado farmer/rancher, they're the nicest people to work with," he said.