by Lynn Meredith
Elburn—A familiar sight rolling through town and on the surrounding roads is the bright blue cabs of grain trucks hauling its cargo. Up until April 1, and for last 65 years, the name on the trucks was “Stover Bros.” Today, it’s “Elburn Cooperative Company.” The Co-Op purchased the business, its 13 trucks and hired its drivers.
“Trucks are trucks, but employees make the company,” Elburn Co-Op General Manager John Husk said. “Our customers have come to rely on Stover Bros., so it was natural for us to purchase their assets and take on their drivers as our employees.”
Stover Bros. began in 1946 out of a blacksmith shop on the corner of Kansas and Main streets. Duane “Dink” Stover and his brother, Eugene, started hauling livestock with a fleet of two trucks.
Over the years, the Stover Bros. started hauling grain and fertilizer for the Elburn Co-Op. They also hauled hides for the Elburn Packing Company and fuel for Feece Oil. They hired their first employee in 1950 and replaced the original blacksmith shop with the garage that sits on the corner today.
“Hauling grain and fertilizer for the Co-Op is what built the foundation for the company,” said president Roger Stover, Duane’s youngest son. “As the Co-Op grew, we grew. As their need for more trucks grew, we were able to accommodate more growth.”
With a fleet of 13 trucks, the company has 13 drivers who they consider to be part of the family.
“We tried to be a family. Customers and employees are part of your family. Even former customers are,” said Duane’s wife, Joanne. “I think my husband would be proud to see what his business turned out to be.”
Farmers will continue to see the familiar faces of the drivers they have done business with over the 40 years that Stover’s has hauled grain and fertilizer for the Co-Op.
“It’s a perfect fit for us. Everything has a life cycle,” Stover said. “We knew we didn’t have another generation to keep the business going, and we wanted to make sure we could continue to take care of our loyal customers and our drivers.”