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The Dailey Dose: The Hay Business is Gold for Young Entrepreneurs

threeguysLEXINGTON Ky. (7/20/13)—David Whitley, 25, and Jacob Rankin, 18, are not your typical young men struggling to decide what to do with their lives. The cousins are the owners and operators of Tollgate Hay and Straw located at 1191 Lexington Road behind Giles Farm Equipment in Georgetown.

“My dad used to own the business but quit about four years ago,” said Rankin. “So Dave and I got together and decided last fall to start things up again.”

Working along side of Whitley and Rankin is their cousin Cory Stamper, 21, and Troy Whittemore, 21.

“It’s a family business,” said Whitley. “Some of our clients carried over from my uncle’s business, but we have acquired many new ones since we started in the fall. Word of mouth and his clients have now provided us with farms that are keeping us busy, but we are always looking for more.”

The men serve any hay or straw needs all over the state. They have delivered to farms in Somerset, Paris, Versailles, Lexington and Georgetown.

“We’ve come a long way in less than a year,” said Rankin. “We started with two old trucks and one trailer; now we have two trucks, a semi and three trailers.”

While they agree that there are benefits of owning their own business at a young age, at the end of the day the physical labor always comes first for them.

“Manual labor is tough, but at the end of a work day we know that after hours spent in the heat we will be making our customers happy when we deliver the hay to them,” said Whittemore.

Whitley and Rankin agreed that it is tough finding people that are willing to work in the summer heat.

“We have to bring at least three shirts with us to the field,” Rankin said laughing, “and each one of them are soaked by the time it is dark.”

At first they were worried that people wouldn’t take them seriously because they are young, but after their clients saw how hard working they are it was a game changer.

“Being able to have relationships with so many different horse farms and getting to know different people is one of my favorite things about working here,” said Whittemore. “We are constantly building relationships with people so that we can become a bigger business and become more broad.”

Tollgate Hay and Straw sell hay by the ton or per bale with a variety of different hay available ranging from mixed grass, timothy, or alfalfa. If you are interested in buying from Tollgate Hay and Straw call 502-542-8343.

Bonnie Dailey
SurfKY News

The Dailey Dose is a column written by SurfKY reporter Bonnie Dailey to feature Lexington’s remarkable and peculiar people, places, and things.  If you know someone you’d like featured in The Dailey Dose e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

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