gsf_bldgGSF, Inc., a new business that recently moved to Sully, is proof of these words, “You can be a national company without a huge front door,” spoken by Rich Flaugh, president and owner of the grain moisture testing company. “What we do is very much a niche business,” he said. “We’re a national distributor of grain testing equipment.”

With about 9,000 customers scattered throughout the U.S., GSF handles the sales and distribution of grain testing equipment. Its subsidiary company, AgStar Services, handles the equipment’s periodic service work and recalibration. “Over the years, we’ve sold more grain moisture testing equipment than anyone in the world,” Flaugh said.

So what sparked the move to Sully?

Recently, they’ve been doing some restructuring of GSF and AgStar, Flaugh explained. GSF has been in business for 20 years, and for the entire time has been based in Ankeny. However, two of Flaugh’s main employees live in Pella and have commuted to Ankeny to work for years. For that reason, when the lease on their building in Ankeny came up, Flaugh decided to look for a location closer to Pella. Not finding what he wanted in Pella, he looked in the surrounding towns and found out about the possibility of moving to the old Van Maanen Electric building in Sully, located to the west of the Key Co-op Station. Now the business has made the move, opening its doors in Sully on Monday, July 9.

GSF’s building is split into an office area, an AgStar service area, and a warehouse area. One of the nice things about moving into the building was it was move-in ready and suitable for GSF’s needs, Flaugh said. He explained that they are a UPS-oriented business with a few independent reps scattered throughout the country. Therefore, their main office in Sully will receive very little walk-in traffic. “Most of our work is over the phone and people traveling out of this office,” Flaugh said. Five people work for GSF, with four of them based in the Sully office. Aside from Flaugh, the other three people based in Sully are Scott De Boef, the general manager; Ron Meinders, who does service work; and Nick Berry, who handles both sales and service. The fifth employee is an outside salesperson in the Twin Cities.

The main product sold and distributed by GSF is the AM-5200-A Moisture Meter, which is manufactured by Perten Instruments. Perten is based out of Sweden and hasn’t established a huge presence in grain moisture testing in the U.S. yet, Flaugh said. The Perten AM-5200-A features the newest technology in grain moisture testing and can be used by farmers and grain facilities of all kinds. “We’ve got calibrations for 50 different grains,” Flaugh said. Those grains include traditional Iowa crops like corn and soybeans as well as additional grains that are grown throughout the U.S., including peanuts and rice.

Since the machine works well with such a variety of crops, GSF customers are located all over the country. “When you pick up the phone, you don’t know whether you’re talking to someone from North Dakota or Alabama,” Flaugh said. “You learn a lot about regional agriculture.” The Perten AM-5200-A, which features a touch screen, is simple to use for both elevators and farmers, Flaugh said. “It takes just eight seconds to get a test,” he said. In that time, users can find out the moisture, test weight, and temperature of the grain. The equipment is called a “bench tester,” meaning it’s not handheld or portable, Flaugh added. About 60 percent of GSF’s grain moisture testing sales is commercial. The other 40 percent of sales is made to farmers.

Although GSF has been selling grain instruments for many years, their contract as a Perten distributer was a recent change. When the end of their contract with their former supplier, DICKEY-john, came up, the GSF employees looked around at the competition to find out which one made the best product. That’s when they landed on Perten’s equipment. “We really like their design,” Flaugh said. “We felt this was by far the best design and by far the most reliable design.” The old equipment made by DICKEY-john relied on technology that was about 25 years old, he added. In contrast, the new equipment by Perten is much more software-driven and is a lot more accurate, he said. That’s important to farmers these days whose operations are getting bigger and bigger, he said. “They want more accuracy, ease of use, and flexibility,” he said.

GSF currently has 13,000 testers in the field, mostly manufactured by DICKEY-john, that are in use throughout the U.S. Each of those testers could potentially be replaced with the new Perten AM-5200-A, Flaugh said. In fact, Sully’s own Key Co-op is currently in the process of replacing its whole fleet of older equipment with new equipment sold by GSF. To see where GSF is located, swing by 508 5th Ave. in Sully where you’ll see “small business personified,” Flaugh said.

gsf_people

Though the place may not receive a lot of foot traffic, that’s definitely not an indicator of the amount of business that goes on inside GSF’s doors. “We’re really good at what we do, but the niche is pretty narrow,” Flaugh said.

Contact information is” Office, 800-627-6702; service, 877-856-0060; and website, www.gsfinc.com

From left, Nick Berry, owner Rick Flaugh, and Scotdt De Boef are three of the four people who work at GSF in Sully.