Farming out parade duties
Though well-known in the community as owners of Geren's Farm Supply, Les and Kathy Geren like to remain behind the scenes.
This year's Sandy Mountain Festival Parade will put them front and center as grand marshals, recognizing their more than 40 years of business and service in the community.
"We are extremely proud and overwhelmed (to be considered)," Les said. "We came up with about 30 other people we thought it should have been who are active in the community. And we've only been here 46 years."
The creation of Geren's Farm Supply was the culmination of Les' agriculture education background and Kathy's retail prowess. That blending of talent has allowed the couple to become an institution in Sandy and Boring. The store sells home and farm supplies, offering gifts for humans and furry friends alike.
During the decades since Geren's opened, the couple said, "(the staff) has become like a family," and the community like extended family.
When they aren't selling farm supplies, the Gerens can be found volunteering with or sponsoring numerous events throughout the year. Many of their employees find ways to give back as well. Les and Kathy sponsor events for everyone from preschools and churches to the FFA and 4-H clubs, and also volunteer with the Sandy Kiwanis, Shriners and the Free Masons. In December, they can be found helping with the Christmas Basket program and hosting a special visit with Santa for children with sensory processing issues or autism. In July, they're always somehow involved with the Kiwanis Cruise-In at Oral Hull Park for the Blind.
"The community is what I like about working and living here," Les said.
"Ninety-five percent of our customers make every day a good day," Kathy added.
The couple said that sponsoring groups and community happenings has been a great way to keep their business visible, but also they just like "supporting the community that supports us."
"The more you give, the more you get back — and I don't mean that financially," Les explained.
The Gerens don't like to think they're any different than other businesses around, and that's what they'll tell you if you ask what sets them apart.
"We're just part of the community," Les said.
The couple is looking forward to being part of the parade this year as grand marshals. In recent years they've been absent from the community event — no doubt to assist the community in other ways.
The Gerens are trying to sell their business after 38 years, but will remain at the helm until they find a buyer to continue their quality of service to the community.