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Vision and Determination Equal Success for Portales Entrepreneurs

Creighton County Store

The ups and downs of the agriculture industry have forced burdens on operators and producers that many would think were unbearable. Garland and Leslie Creighton have risen to the occasion by implementing innovative ideas while following a strong business vision: This husband-and-wife team has weathered the turbulent nature of agriculture and the economy.

The Creightons were high school sweethearts who graduated from Elida High School and attended Eastern New Mexico University. Garland grew up on a ranch, and while he was in school, he worked at various sale barns. Meanwhile, Leslie worked at San Martin Grain, a grain elevator outside of Portales, N.M. It was that grain elevator that sparked the couple's entrepreneurial spirit.

The grain elevator changed hands and became Anderson Grain. And, when Anderson Grain went bankrupt, the Creightons, with help from Ag New Mexico, began their first family business. They purchased the elevator in 1997, and added to the business by offering Hi-Pro feed products, while continuing the seasonal operations of the elevator. Two years later, the couple became partners in AgMart, a small veterinary supply store in Portales. In January of 2003, they bought out their partner's share of the business and remodeled the warehouse into the full, vibrant store it is today. Known as Creighton's Town and Country, it is one of the few distributors of Purina products in the area. Purina helped Garland and Leslie with the design and layout of the store, and trained them in the retail business.

The recent drought has had an effect on everyone, and the Creightons say they have felt its ramifications in their three family businesses — the store, the elevator and their cow/calf operation. The store caters heavily to the dairy, ranching and farming industries with supplies and specialty feeds, and their customers have all been affected by drought. The grain elevator is not as busy this season, either, and their cattle operation has had to take substantial measures to withstand the lack of water.

Despite the negative impact of the drought, the Creightons' operations remain strong. The couple gives credit to their "great employees and wonderful customers." They also admit that integrating their three businesses into one effective unit has helped them adapt to the curveballs that life throws at them.

Leslie and Garland Creighton

"We have always had a seasonal business," Leslie says. "We are fortunate that each different venture has, in turn, helped the other ones succeed."

For example, the success of the grain elevator allowed the couple to purchase and grow Creighton's Town and Country into what it is today. And the cattle herd gives Garland the opportunity to test new feed products, so that he can offer firsthand experience and knowledge to their feed customers.

"Garland loves the cow/calf operation," says Leslie, noting that he would spend all of his time with the herd if he could.When they are not busy with their businesses, the couple stays active with their two daughters, Kynzi, 14, and Kasyn, 12. Both girls play volleyball and basketball and are involved in 4-H and FFA, tending show lambs, pigs and goats.

In October, Garland and Leslie celebrated their 22nd wedding anniversary, and this year marked their 15th anniversary as loyal Ag New Mexico customers. "When we first started, Ag New Mexico took a risk with us and helped us grow," says Leslie. "Ag New Mexico stuck with us, so we are going to stick with them."

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