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Title: General ManagerCompany: Tractor Supply Co., 525 W. Northview Road, NixaEducation: Bachelor’s in business, Northern Michigan UniversityBack in the Ozarks: The Springfield native worked for Tractor Supply Co. (Nasdaq: TSCO) for six years  – in Olathe, Kan., and Muskogee, Okla. – before opening the Nixa store in June 2010. Contact: str1413@tractorsupply.com
Title: General Manager
Company: Tractor Supply Co., 525 W. Northview Road, Nixa
Education: Bachelor’s in business, Northern Michigan University
Back in the Ozarks: The Springfield native worked for Tractor Supply Co. (Nasdaq: TSCO) for six years  – in Olathe, Kan., and Muskogee, Okla. – before opening the Nixa store in June 2010.
Contact: str1413@tractorsupply.com

A Conversation With ... Greg Wagnon

Posted online
Tell us about your company.
Tractor Supply Co. started in 1938 in Minot, N.D., and for the longest time, we were just a catalog and tractor parts business. (The company) has expanded quite a bit and gone public and are based out of Nashville. Tenn., and just opened our 1,100th store a couple weeks ago. We’re nationwide, mainly from Kansas east. We have some stores in California (and) a group that’s up in the northwest.

Our main customers are smaller farms, anywhere from 10 to 200 acres.

What merchandise does Tractor Supply Co. offer now?
We carry everything from extensive clothing lines (to) nuts and bolts. One of our largest (areas of business) is our dog food and pet (merchandise). We carry an extensive feed line for farm animals. … We carry plumbing parts, generators, batteries, fuel tanks, truck boxes, Hobart welding supplies, Ingersoll Rand air compressors (and) a full line of hand tools, hardware, nuts and bolts and specialty items.

Do you have an agricultural background that led you to work for Tractor Supply Co.?
Actually, I don’t. My background is business. In fact, I worked for Macy’s for 16 years out in the Northwest. I had the opportunity to come back to the Midwest, because my folks (and family) were right around Springfield. I saw an opportunity, thought it was good and came back home.

What attracted Tractor Supply Co. to Nixa and southwest Missouri?
We actually had a store (in southwest Missouri) a long time ago. The Race Brothers store on Kearney Street is actually an old Tractor Supply store. We shifted gears and pulled back into certain parts of the country, and that was (a store) we let go. Now, we’re an expanding company. We just opened in Sedalia, Columbia and Union, so we’re expanding quite a bit in the Missouri area.

We’re expecting a good three to five more stores down in this area. There are 10 employees in Nixa.

How does your store gather feedback from customers?
We have a couple of different ways that we can do it. We have little cards, basically suggestion cards, that mail directly into our home office and talk about this store, specifically.

We have a survey, that we tell every customer who comes in and purchases anything from us to give it a call and tell us how we’re doing for them and about products that maybe we don’t have.

What key challenges does your store face?
In Nixa, it’s more of a location issue, because we’re off the main road, and until they get the roads out here set up they way they have them planned, we’re going to have a few struggles.

Other than that, from a merchandising standpoint, there’s really not a lot of obstacles for us, because we’ve been doing this for quite a long time. We target-market a lot of our advertising to specific ZIP codes, and we know exactly who’s in here buying what, and we target a lot of our promotions to those folks.

What is Tractor Supply Co.’s approach to online sales at www.tractorsupply.com?
We have a program that’s called Ship to Store, and (customers) can purchase online and have (orders) shipped free to their local stores and pick it up there. (Online sales) are growing. But they’re very small, as a total company, though it’s substantially growing (for) the last two years.

What product lines are emerging or evolving?
For the last three to five years, the quality of feed itself has dramatically increased, and that goes for pets and livestock.

Some of the Nutrina and Purina feeds are a huge difference (from) some of the lesser-quality products that are out there right now. It’s a science, and they’ve taken it to a new level.
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