Chariton Area Chamber/Main Street is proud to feature one of our local contributing businesses in the monthly Small Business Spotlight.
This month, we met with Nick and Mike Hunter of Hunter Bros Inc., who've been up to more than just planting trees over the past 40 years! Read on to learn how the Hunter brothers have grown their business by working together, and the importance of family throughout it all.
What are your names and job titles/roles?
Nick and Mike Hunter, we own Hunter Bros Inc. We split our responsibilities across many areas of our farming operation.
How long have you been in business in Chariton? Are you the first owner or is it a family/generational business?
We began farming in 1983, we planted the first Christmas tree seedlings in the spring of 1984. We followed in our father and grandfather's footsteps, but the Christmas tree and shade tree were a new diversified crop from their previous farming experience.
Describe your business. What do you do and how do you do it?
We grow tree seedlings that hopefully become Christmas trees and plant shade trees to move with our tree spade. We also farm acres of corn and soybeans, hay, wheat, rye, and other crops. We have a cow/calf herd, feed cattle at our feedlot, and we have a heifer development program feeding and developing cattle for other producers.
Why do you do what you do?
We like the diversity of the seasons and the experience of producing different crops. It never gets boring, there is always something to do.
Can you talk about when/why you made the decision to start your own business? Was there a specific moment or realization?
We always wanted to farm, it was a great opportunity to get to do it with each other. We couldn't do what we do without each other, and the expertise we each have in different areas.
What inspires you to keep at it each day?
We hope that it will rain and the crops will grow and we can continue to produce products.
Why did you choose Chariton for your business?
Chariton is home, we couldn't farm anywhere else but in Lucas County. Our parents helped us tremendously.
What are your biggest challenges as a business owner?
Well, as with most businesses, money!
What are your biggest rewards?
We get to work with our families, at the Tree Farm and throughout the year.
What will people get from your business that they won't get anywhere else?
We have a small Christmas tree farm experience that is different from other growers in Iowa and across the Midwest. The School House and Tree Barn create a welcoming atmosphere. We exceptional wreaths!