At Waterwrights.net we value our advertisers – of course – they keep us in business. But I am proud to have Gar Tootelian Inc. grace our site. I have long admired Karen Musson’s common sense opinions expressed on GTI editorial/commercials running on radio station KMJ 580AM. Her husband Greg has personally shown me an amazing ability to combine professionalism, kindness and what I believe to be a most underrated virtue; humility. I say humility because I do not have room to list the ways GTI gives back to our community through philanthropy, charity and reinvestment. – DAW
I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging. Let’s see what some other folks have to say:
“Gar Tootelian is a great family company that is generous to our community and an excellent provider of our crop protection tools,” Carol Chandler, Chandler Farms, LP.
Russ Waymire, Hoekstra & Associates Ag Real Estate said, “The Gar Family are more than business friends, they are like Family. I have the deepest respect and admiration for the Gar Family, their integrity and all they do to help the Valley to remain prosperous while at the same time helping those in need.
“The Gar Professional Fertilizer Full Service Crop Care Business and their staff are all a pleasure to work with. Whenever I hear the Karen Musson Gar radio ads it makes my day that the Gar group is sticking up for Ag and Valley residents. The radio ads remind me of the Paul Harvey TV ad where Paul Harvey says ‘Then on the eighth day God made a Farmer.’ It’s nice that what we do here in the Valley gets recognized and advertised.
“For God sakes we have nothing to be ashamed of as our valley farmers and farm workers produce the WORLD’S highest quality fruits, nuts, vegetables, grapes, raisins, almonds, pistachios and hundreds of other crops!” Amen Russ and Carol.
We asked the folks at Gar Tootelian Inc. a few questions so you can get to know them better. Here is their response:
How long has your business been in business?
Gar Tootelian, Inc. was founded in 1949 with the simple and unassuming idea of offering fertilizer to neighbors and friends. GAR made no deliveries, had no employees and did no advertising in the early years of our business. Our original address and single location at 8246 S. Crawford has remained the same since 1949 and has served us well for 69 years. We’ve grown from our 5 acre site and small tool shed to encompassing 15 acres with more than 100,000 square feet of warehouse and maintenance space, 9,000 square feet of office space and a million gallons of bulk liquid blending and storage.
Who founded your business?
Gar & Esther Tootelian founded their business in 1949 with their small savings and the idea that they could improve their farm income while helping their neighbors and friends.
What structure is your business: family, corporate, LLC, etc.?
We are a Sub-S corporation, 100% Female and Family owned. We are a third generation family business.
How many employees?
Presently, we have 110 full-time staff employed. In peak season, we grow to about 130 full and part-time staff to augment key positions and to provide important PCA internships and training.
Who runs the business now?
Greg Musson is GAR’s President and CEO. He superseded Gar as President in 2003 and is married to Gar & Esther’s daughter, Karen, for 39 years. Greg has been with GAR since 1986 and was a commercial banker before joining GAR.
What is the guiding philosophy of your business?
No one is more important than the customer. “Treat your customer right and you’ll have a customer for life.” Trust is Agriculture’s most valuable asset and it is essential in every phase from field to fork and starts with GAR. Consumers, especially mothers, want to know that their food and fiber are sustainably, environmentally, and conscientiously grown utilizing the safest standards to produce the healthiest and cleanest products possible. GAR works hard to be a valuable partner helping growers meet the standards consumers expect.
Our 40 Pest Control Advisors (PCAs) have unrivaled experience and work hard to keep growers safe and make them profitable. Constant training and teamwork make the difference. There is no “I” in team and there is no “I” in GAR. Attention to every detail is considered every step of the way working closely with GAR’s team of experts: PCA, Agronomist, food safety, water, equipment, purchasing, and even delivery.
What is unique about your service and/or product?
We are a small company with big ideas. We really work hard at making growers profitable. Restrictions and regulations increasingly make farming cumbersome and costly. We responded quickly to these growing requirements by adding two Agronomists to our staff to oversee plant nutrition; we added a team of experts to address water efficiency and quality. And, our regulatory compliance and food safety teams are heroes at documentation, training and keeping everyone safe.
How do you fit in with irrigation or ag in general?
No water. No food. Everyone relies on water for life and freedom. 50% of all fresh fruits and nuts are grown here in California’s central valley and millions of people across the world rely on the Valley to provide the safest and most nutritious food. No water. No food. Water delivery, efficiency and quality are central to everything a grower does and our water management team makes every drop count. Water is life and Farmers deserve our gratitude and thanks for continually meeting the challenge of burdensome regulations and increasing water restrictions.
What are your goals for the future?
People have to eat. We love what we do and we will be here helping growers be profitable and sustainable for the future. It is our legacy to give life and liberty to the world. It’s an important job and we do it best.
What do you want folks to know about your business that might surprise them?
Community and culture are important to everyone at GAR. The communities our families live and work in are important and they are part of our individual heritage and we have made it an integral part of our business legacy. In 2003, the Gar and Esther Tootelian Charitable Foundation (GET) was created to continue their values of faith, family and community. Since 2003, the GET Foundation with the help of GAR has granted more than $2.5 million in gifts for programs, scholarships and community projects that promote agricultural literacy and cultivate an awareness and appreciation of the importance of agriculture to America’s freedom and families.
The GET Foundation’s community activities and sponsorships include: the Fresno Grizzlies Farm Grown Community Fund, the Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s Valley Farm, Valley PBS Valley’s Gold and Valley’s Gold Education through Agriculture, the Center for Land Based Learning FARMS Advanced and The Plant Foundation’s – Farm Academy Live. The Foundation also supports educational scholarships, FFA and 4-H Chapters and more than 20 community non-profit organizations advancing agricultural literacy.
In 2011, GAR led a campaign to raise $1.65 million to support the expansion of the Clovis Medical Center Emergency Room in honor of “Central Valley Farmers and their Families”. And, the annual “Feeding Families Fund Drive” has raised nearly $650,000 over four years with the support of local growers to support the Central Valley Community Food Bank’s efforts to bring food security and hope to families in the Central Valley.
GAR is extremely proud and honored to be recognized by our industry peers and community organizations, including: 2017 Habitat for Humanity Agent of Change Award, 2017 Community Food Bank Donor of the Year; Agricultural Retailers Association 2016 National Agricultural Retailer of the Year; 2015 Environmental Respect Award for North America by CropLife Magazine and E.I. DuPont; and 2013 Baker, Peterson & Franklin Fresno Chamber Agricultural Business.
What question should I be asking you?
You’ve done a good job of covering the bases. There is a lot more we could say but we’ll leave it for another time.