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Curtain closing on long-time farm supply store
By Stan Maddux
Indiana Correspondent

RUSHVILLE, Ind. – He bought a livestock equipment business from his uncle in 1985 and took his advice to place customers first even if it costs money. The Indiana business remains successful, but Dave Matney and his wife, Sally, will soon close the doors.
“It’s with sadness that we leave it but there comes a time for everything under heaven,” he said.
Merchandise is being offered at a discount during a going out of business of sale at Matney Agri-Products Corp. in Rushville.
Matney said the store will close on July 31 no matter how much inventory remains.
“When we walk away, we want to walk away,” he said.
He plans to place the property on the market but hasn’t decided on the asking price.
“Somebody could have a very good business. A very rewarding business not just financially, but mentally, too,” he said.
His fondest memories include interacting with farmers, especially on deliveries in his early days when he was much more active with the company.
“I miss that. They’re great people. Hard workers. They would invite me in to eat,” he said.
Matney, 74, pretty much retired from the store a quarter century ago when he moved to Bloomington to watch his grandchildren grow up. He and his wife, who’s still in charge of balancing the books, returned to the store about twice a year.
In the beginning, Matney said he worked a couple of years for his uncle, Chet Matney Jr., who specialized mostly in hog equipment when he ran what was then called Matney Agri-Sales.
He said his uncle told him the reason for his success was he built the business on “integrity.”
“Even if it costs you a little money to go back and fix something or make it right. It’s worth it. We found that to be 100 percent true all of the time,” he said.
After buying the store, Matney said he began offering more products such as large hoop structures made of canvas used for storage.
Eventually, much of his business came from liquid manure tanks, pumps, injectors and other related equipment to meet demand generated by the discovery that animal waste could be used as fertilizer because of its nutrient-rich content.
“The business just grew and grew and grew and grew. Our spreaders went from 2,100 gallons at the time. Our biggest now is 15,000 gallons,” he said.
Matney said he also took another piece of advice from his uncle, who told him, “You don’t really sell anything, Dave. You help people buy stuff. He was such a mentor,” he said.
Sally Matney works a full day and half day a week from home balancing the books. The couple, married for 52 years, will now have seven days a week on their calendar to do things like more traveling without interruption.
“Sally and I like our camper and we like to go camping throughout the year. In the winter, we go to the Florida Keys and our kids come down and visit,” he said.
Matney grew up in nearby Milroy, a community of slightly more than 600 residents, until he was in third grade when the family moved to Columbus, and then Bloomington when he was a junior in high school.
He then attended Indiana University but dropped out, feeling he could learn more effectively about business hands on in the private sector.
Matney said he must have held nearly a dozen positions in areas like retail sales and wholesale buying. What he learned gave him confidence when he accepted his uncle’s offer to purchase his store.
“I felt very comfortable about a business that I can buy without a four-year college degree. The timing was perfect. It worked. It worked out good. Sally and I led a full life,” he said.
Dan Neeley, who’s been employed at the store for 37 years, will keep his phone on to accept calls from customers needing orders and service once the store closes.
“He can get the product. He knows the service end of it,” Matney said.