‘Can do anything woman’ unveils agri-business expansion

Surrounded by her team, Rocky Wells Agri-Services president Loni Martin cuts the ribbon at the grand opening of the company’s new Batesburg-Leesville headquarters. (Staff photo by Tony Baughman)

 

A longtime Lexington-based trucking company has expanded its agricultural enterprise into the Batesburg-Leesville area.

Loni Martin, president of Rocky Wells Agri-Services, and her team cut the ribbon last Saturday on the company’s new headquarters at 609 E. Columbia Avenue in the Leesville district of town. A hearty crowd gathered in front of the retail venue to welcome the new venture that actually has a long history of serving South Carolina’s farming community.

“We’ve been hauling agricultural commodities for 15 years now. To move here, the vision for this place was to be able to offer a large-scale solution to small-scale farmers – the people who are too big to be little and too little to be big,” said Mrs. Martin. “We move anything that the farmers need — their inputs, their grain. We supply livestock feed, pasture supplies, fencing supplies.”

The original Rocky Wells Trucking was founded in 1996 by Walter and Cindy Hook, family farmers in Lexington who grew and then shipped their homegrown farm products across the South. The trucking company began as a separate business from the farm “to haul their farm commodities and… to back haul various products for other customers in addition to the farm’s produce,” according to the Rocky Wells Agri-Services website.

In 2004, Mrs. Martin, the Hooks’ oldest daughter, joined the company. She helped expand the company’s vision to include hauling dry bulk commodities such as feed, fertilizer, grain, lime and mulch.

Mrs. Martin’s company biography calls her a “can do anything woman” who is comfortable with everything “from being the boss lady to showing off her mechanical talents.” Her three closest team members also are female, thoroughly smashing male-dominated agricultural stereotypes.

“I am very proud of the fact that in a male-dominated world, we are women running an agricultural business,” she said. “I was raised on a farm, and my daddy didn’t have any boys. So, from the time I was 5 years old, I just did what I had to do to get the job done.”

The current move to the Batesburg-Leesville location opened the door to launch a retail store in addition to the logistics service business.

“It kind of happened by accident. It never really was the focus of where we were going,” Mrs. Martin said. “We wanted the warehouse and the delivery business, to be able to bag the commodities in the bulk bags and deliver to the farms. When we moved here, it had the showroom. It had the retail side of things, and we decided to put it to use.”

Last weekend’s grand opening, complete with a barbecue lunch from Shealy’s and a green-themed cake and punch, gave Rocky Wells Agri-Services the chance to showcase its retail product line.

“Most of our customers are farmers, but we do have supplies for the non-farmer,” Mrs. Martin said. “We carry the Tops dog food line. We have deer corn. We have things for those people who have a couple of chickens in the backyard. You don’t have to be a large farmer to come here. But if you’ve got 500 head of cattle, come see us. We can take care of you.”

The Rocky Wells Agri-Services retail location is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Story by Tony Baughman / Posted August 26, 2019