Ross Seed Co. History
A Walk Down Memory Lane
Chickasha & El Reno shoppers can nibble on fresh, complimentary popcorn as they stroll through the Ross Seed Company and True Value Hardware Stores. Since 1918, Ross’ has been serving both areas and focusing on customers’ needs. “We fill a gap because we provide quality feed and seed that other companies don’t carry,” said Chickasha co-manager Steve Calhoun. “We try to improve the farmer’s bottom line with the quality-tested and proven products we sell.”
Four generations ago, brothers Ed and Leo Bitsche opened the feed and seed store. After World War I, Henry Ross married Ed Bitsche’s niece, Marie Decker, and the couple joined in the family tradition of selling flowers, running a nursery and feed store, as well as a Chevrolet dealership. In the 1920s, the family saw the need to expand. Ed Bitsche took over the nursery, while Henry Ross took over the feed and seed. In the 30’s Henry moved the feed and seed store to Choctaw Avenue and Marie’s mother and Helena Mueller (another daughter) took over the flower shop as a separate business. Henry’s son’s returned from military service in World War II and resumed full-time employment in the growing business.
All of Henry and Marie’s seven children worked at the store during their high school and college days. Joe stayed and made his home in Chickasha. He and his wife Mary raised 10 children. All of whom worked in the store at one time or another.
After Walter Ross graduated from college, he opened a second store in El Reno where he continues to operate this branch of the family business. Walter’s son Tom Ross and daughter Julie Ross-Martin continue to keep the family interest alive into the fourth generation. Established in 1918, Ross Seed has been at its present location since 1934.
Today as yesterday, Ross Seed provides quality feed, seed and service to its customers, including an excellent selection of seeds from a bin much like their grandparents did in the past. Walter and Tom Ross (in El Reno) and Steve Calhoun (in Chickasha) all hold degrees in Agronomy from Oklahoma State University and have been advising farmers and home gardeners for decades.
In 2002, the company built a new, 9,600 square foot feed and warehouse building, allowing Ross’ to carry more product choices including new feed items and one new feed line. In 2003, the Chickasha store was remodeled. To celebrate the Ross Seed Company’s 90th anniversary, Chickasha Mayor Greg Elliott proclaimed Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008 as “Ross Seed Company Day” in Chickasha. In 2013, Ross’ purchased the old Hostess bread store building and lot to provide additional storage and parking.
In the fall of 2012, Ross Seed purchased some of Horn Seed Company’s cabinets, increasing not only the appearance, but expansion of our seed departments in both stores. “We have packaged seeds and the rest we dip. You don’t see that much anymore. It’s part of our tradition and we hope it never goes away,” noted Chickasha co-manager Paul Horten.
Through the years, the company has expanded and remodeled to better serve its customer needs. The neighborly and knowledgeable staff is always willing to lend a helping hand and provide a friendly smile. Through generations, Ross’ values have remained intact – it is still about “Taking care of every customer.”