Keeping good company

June 21, 2013

Mitchel Enterprises in new location, overcoming some obstacles

By JESSICA WILLIAMS
Mitchel Enterprises has survived the recession and a fire to see so much growth the company has to relocate.
The uncle-nephew duo of Leon and Jan Mitchel, respectively, operates a company that Leon describes as “diversified,” including product trading, brokering, transporting and warehousing.
Jan Mitchel founded Mitchel Trucking in 1985, a company for feed ingredient trucking. Leon Mitchel was a feed ingredients and agricultural by-products merchandiser for 18 years.
Mitchel Enterprises started in 2003 at Jan Mitchel’s kitchen table and has grown from three employees to 24.
“We’re crowded,” Leon Mitchel told The News-Banner in January. “We need more space.”
Even through the tough economic times, Leon Mitchel said they’ve never laid off a driver due to lack of work – in fact, they are limited by the number of drivers they have and the restrictions on drivers continue to become tighter.
“In hard times, people still eat and animals still eat,” Leon Mitchel said.
A few days before Christmas of 2010, the 180-feet-by-60-feet building – their largest at the time – was destroyed in a fire on their property near the stone quarry on 150N.
“It set us back for awhile,” Leon Mitchel said.
On top of losing the building, 55 semi loads of ground wheat were lost.
The product was already sold, Leon Mitchel said, as the product was stored in advance, but after the fire they still had to fill their commitments. During this period of rebuilding, their suppliers understood, Leon Mitchel added.
“By having good relationships with our suppliers it helped us.”
They began operating their business out of the former Helena fertilizer storage facility near Wabash and Lancaster streets on Bluffton’s west side in October 2012. The office staff relocated in June.
The new facility offers added railroad and storage space but they are unsure what will happen to the location at 150N. For the time being, the trucks will be based out of there because that’s where the mechanic is located, Leon Mitchel said.
Besides expanding on what they have and looking at other options, Jan Mitchel said, Leon Mitchel added that their new location will allow them to open a freight brokerage component, Midwest Freight Exchange.
“We’re excited about moving,” he said. υ

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