Bob Van Diest started Van Diest Supply Company in the fall of 1956. The business started out as a sideline to his grain and livestock farming operation.
During the first several years of operation, Bob sold agricultural fertilizer to his own farm and to friends and neighbors. Bob saved money on his own fertilizer needs and provided his friends and neighbors a savings on their fertilizer. Sales during the fall of 1956 were $1,916 and profits were $32. During the first full year of business in 1957, sales were almost $10,000 and profits were $386. In 1959, Van Diest Supply Company began to diversify by expanding its sales to include 2,4-D herbicide.
Bob was married in 1959, and his wife, Mary, became active in the business and was a big help with accounting. The business was operated from a small office in the Van Diest home, and business was often times transacted over coffee around the kitchen table. When Bob was in the field farming, Mary would answer the phone, take orders and wait on customers. She has been active in the Accounting Department ever since and continues to be a tremendous asset to Van Diest Supply Company.
In 1966 Van Diest Supply Company built a new building 50’ x 96’ that contained both a small office and warehouse space for chemicals. Van Diest Supply Company’s first full-time employee was hired in 1967 and the business was incorporated in 1968 with net assets of $60,000.
Van Diest Supply Company Today
Van Diest Supply Company continues to be a family-held corporation with all the stock held by Bob, Mary and their four children. Van Diest Supply Company is now three generations strong with Bob, Mary, John and Jake Van Diest all active in the family business. The company has grown to nearly 700 Team Members, 54 buildings on approximately 270 acres in Webster City and 19 outlying Distribution Centers. The company continues to operate today under the same basic principles held at the time the company was founded in 1956.