|The new Wauneta Roller Mills, celebrating 90 years|
|Written by Wauneta Breeze|
|Thursday, 04 June 2015 21:41|
Wauneta Roller Mills is one of the oldest businesses in Wauneta, celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. The Wauneta Roller Mills crew includes, from left, owners Rogan and Ashley Einspahr, Jim Maxfield, Jim Beacham and Tracy Hackney. (Dharma Blake-Cole | The Wauneta Breeze)
By Dharma Blake-Cole
The Wauneta Breeze
The Wauneta Roller Mills was founded in 1925 by Bert and Edna Maxfield. The Mill has been family owned and operated since it was built.
For the first 87 years the mill was open it was owned by the Maxfield family. Ownership changed when Rogan and Ashley Einspahr bought the mill on January 5 of 2012. The Roller Mill is now celebrating its 90th anniversary.
The Wauneta Roller Mills is the last independent, family owned mill in Nebraska, making a rare sight to see. In 2008 the mill was named to the National Register of Historic Places.
Rogan and Ashley Einspahr have and continue to keep the Maxfields involved at the mill. When the mill was first purchased, Raymond Maxfield spent time at the mill every day helping the Einspahrs learn the operation of the mill. Jim Maxfield is also still a current asset at the Wauneta Roller Mills.
Rogan and Jim Maxfield do the milling and the flour and feed making. Jim Beacham drives the truck taking loads in and out of the mill. Tracy Hackney does most of the paper work in the office. Ashley helps with paper work and marketing.
Ashley gets the word out about the mill and its products in many ways. She uses radio advertising, newspaper ads, social medias such as Facebook and Instagram, and just plain word of mouth.
The Einspahrs heard that the mill was for sale and decided it would be a good business opportunity. Rogan said “I wanted to own my own business and I like the history.” He was also confident that he could run the mill and it was something their family could do.
The Einspahrs have had some challenges with the mill. One of the main challenges faced are the mechanical breakdowns. The old building has also proven difficult along with the lack of technology at the mill when the Einspahrs began.
Ashley has been working hard to modernize the mill by making a presence for it on the internet. This presence makes the mill more accessible and allows for a wider market range as people can order their products online as well as through traditional ways.
Some other challenges the Einspahrs have faced is the low population in Southwest Nebraska which gives them a smaller market to sell to and makes distribution tough.
Even though there have been many challenges both Ashley and Rogan agree that working in a small town has allowed them to make good relationships with their customers and get a lot of good support from the locals in Wauneta and the surrounding area. Rogan said “It’s a nice way of life and a good place to raise a family.”
The mill has many products including flour, feed, different types of pre-made mixes, and cracked wheat cereal. The mill produces dog and cat food as well as cattle, sheep, goat, pig and poultry feed.
Due to the small market in Wauneta Ashley says “It is beneficial to get the flour and feed out of Wauneta to the surrounding area stores.”
The creative minds at the mill have been working on producing more of their pre-made mixes which already include pancake and cake mix.
Ashley hopes to produce more types of mixes in the future and Rogan hopes to appeal to more markets, produce more products, and increase production.
Mill products have been to the state fairs and plans are to go to different farmers markets in the summer on the East side of the state.
The Wauneta Roller Mills offers a unique, home like feeling to their customers. As the last family run mill left in Nebraska they have a lot to offer their customers.
Each and every bag of flour and feed is made by and touched by Rogan and Jim Maxfield’s hands. There is a personal touch to every product produced by the mill.
The mill purchases most of their raw materials from local farmers and local co-ops, making their products home grown.
Rogan and Ashley have made many investments into the Wauneta Roller Mills and will continue to do so to keep the mill up and running and allow the Wauneta locals and the people in the surrounding area to purchase home grown flour, feed and pre-made mixes.
The Mill is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. MT/9 a.m. CT until 5 p.m. MT/6 p.m. CT and Fridays from 8 a.m. MT/9 a.m. CT until 4 p.m. MT/5 p.m. CT.
Tours this Saturday
This weekend the Mill will be open and offering tours for residents and BRAN guests alike from 1 p.m. MT/2 p.m. CT until 4 p.m. MT/5 p.m. CT.