Pamplin Media Group – Geren’s under new ownership with same name, small-town feel

Gresham-based Van Zant family bought Sandy farm supply store on Wednesday, Dec. 1

PMG PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Sheila and Jerry Van Zant took ownership of Geren's on Dec. 1. For more than 40 years, Kathy and Les Geren of Geren’s Farm Supply have served the Sandy and Boring communities livestock feed needs. Now, they have finalized the sale of the business so a new family can fill that niche.

On Dec. 1, Jerry and Sheila Van Zant took the helm at Geren’s, keeping the name but expanding the merchandise at the store. The Van Zants live in Gresham for now and also own a landscaping supply company called All About Stone.

Because of this landscaping connection, the Gerens’ daughter, Roz Rushing, said the sale seemed to bring the family’s experience full circle.

“Ma and Pa started as entrepreneurs in the landscaping business and now it’s coming back to the Geren’s name,” Rushing said. “I’m very excited for this next chapter and to see the Van Zant family continue and expand the family (business). I feel like Dad helped bring them to us.”

Kathy is staying aboard for a while to help ease the transition for the Van Zants, staff and the community.

“It was our goal to sell, so I’m glad we’re at this point,” Kathy explained. “Now is time for a new phase in life. We’ve had a lot of customers ask if Geren’s was going to stay a feed store and they are happy it will. I’m excited we didn’t have to liquidate. It’ll stay a store and they’re going to put their own touch on it and see how it goes.”

The Van Zants will blend the current retail and feed options of Geren’s with landscaping supplies, and potentially more outdoor supplies like barbecues and coolers, besides keeping what Geren’s has historically supplied for customers.

Jerry Van Zant said one of the appeals of buying Geren’s was that it’s a “well-known, well-established and well-liked business.”PMG FILE PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - The Gerens opened the farm supply store on Kelso Road and Highway 26 more than 40 years ago. Les passed away on Sept. 12, but Kathy will spend her retirement 'able to do more of the things I want to do.'

The Van Zants have retained all of the staff of the Geren’s and are happy to have the help of those long-time employees.

“Sandy is a growing community nowadays,” Sheila Van Zant added. “We know that we definitely have a lot to learn and (the staff) will be our best teachers. Besides the building and land, they’re our best asset.”

Though the Van Zants don’t yet live in Sandy, both of their children do, and their daughter-in-law Maggie will help with the business.

“When I walked into Geren’s for the first time, I knew this was me,” Jerry Van Zant said. “This is an amazing location. People should look for changes. It’s going to be fun (though) it’s going to be hard to fill (the Gerens’) shoes.”

The Van Zants also plan to continue events like the annual tractor show, among other new opportunities.

“It’s a lot off of my shoulders,” Kathy Geren said of her retirement. “I’ll start being able to do things I want to do.”

Kathy plans to spend time tending to the home garden she and Les planted and cared for together.

“It was a good run, a good time in life,” Kathy added. “But we were both ready to move on. I’m just sad that he doesn’t get to do it with me. We appreciate the community’s support over the years; they’ve been good to us and we tried to reciprocate.”

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