Our Story: How Renew Got Started

My sister said something the other night that struck me, she said, “ I don’t really like to spend money on things I can’t support or believe in.” We agree wholeheartedly.

To tell the story we have to back up about 14 years to a warm spring night in Ames, IA.  Jim and I met when I was initiated into Iowa State University’s Freshman class of the Block & Bridle Club.  He was the calm and fun loving senior and I was the awkward & of course loud freshman.  We met, I thought of him as a big brother type and he thought I was loud.  No surprise.

The following fall I signed up for Animal Science 114 which included a lab. As a “Super Senior” he was my Teaching Assistant. He was hard on me. Expected me to know everything about livestock, including forage measuring! He would send my tests back with the phrase “Come see me” written across the top of it. I thought, “Man, this guy is a tough TA!” I was under the impression that 114 Lab was a fun and easy class. I began to ask my friends if they had to go see the TA all the time too? Were they expected to re-do all of these assignments too? Turns out they weren’t meeting with the TA all the time. The 114 professor encouraged it. Our first date was a cook your own steakhouse, he was hooked when I told him I wanted my steak medium-rare. I was hooked by that lop-sided grin and livestock talk. Nearly two years after our first date we walked down the aisle and committed to forever. The babies came fast after that. We are on the two year plan as Jim likes to say. The arrival of our first baby made us want to get out of the city and back to the farm. Jim and my dad have always gotten along well together. I suppose it might have to do with the mirrored personalities of father and daughter. We loved the church we were married at here in Atlantic and we wanted to be a part of a family farm. Off to Atlantic we went.

Jim had done some extensive study of nutrition in college and had made it his focus in grad school.  We were so grateful when Merrill Neary offered him a job with Peets Feeds out of Fremont, Nebraska.  Jim had the book knowledge and Merrill had nearly 40 years of experience in the feed business.  The learning curve was steep and more than once, Merrill baled Jim out of a tough situation.  Over the past 11 years, Jim has been able to build a thriving business.  Lots of loyal and truly wonderful people.  People are what matters.  One of Jim’s favorite quotes is “People buy from people not companies”. 

People is why we started Renew Ag Supply. Over the years we have often said it would be nice to have a place where we could sell Peets Feed locally, put a face on our other company Iowa Gold and interact directly with the public. After the local Lextron store closed there was a need for an animal health store.

It sometimes feels like the store has grown overnight.  There have been awesome moments, and sad ones too.  We haven’t always expected the twists and turns of owning a small business, but we are grateful for our faith and the way it makes holding on when the odds seem impossible, possible.  There have been lots of late nights (Danelle) and early mornings (Jim).  Lots of discussion and some frustrated yelling too.  Through it all we have grown and continue to mature.  

Our “Renew Crew” is young.  We admit that it can be challenging to work with all 20 year olds.  The world tells us that this “Millenial” generation is sure to be the undoing of the current work force.  Articles and blogs scream it at every turn.  We don’t buy it.  There are challenges with every generation, ours included.  Things are changing, technology is one of the main culprits.  Regardless of the generations, what remains the same is good people. 

People who genuinely want to help, people who are honest, people who are humble and real.  That’s what you will find at Renew.  What makes Jim and I the proudest is that over and over again we hear, “Your store is such a fun place to shop” or “You have a really positive crew of people working here”.  Its true.  They are the face of Renew and they do an amazing job of reflecting our values and expectations.  We make mistakes, we talk them through and we strive for better results next time.  Our goal is to provide excellent service in an environment where product knowledge and understanding are most important.  This mission reflects our greatest purpose which is to glorify God in all that we do.  Renew’s name comes from the scripture in Colossians 3:10 ...and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him... 

Does everyone at Renew Ag Supply share our beliefs?  No.  Jim & I hold these beliefs in high esteem and we share biblical concepts we know to be profitable for all people regardless of their beliefs.  We share because we care.  Truly.  We try to be humble, we make mistakes, we say sorry, we carry on, its who we are.

Thank you for supporting our company and the people and families who make a living by working here every day.  You have no idea the blessings that it provides. We are grateful for every one of you.

Jim & Danelle Skartvedt 
Owners of Renew Ag Supply
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