Mike (left) and Matt Dentinger chat in Dentingers on Monday afternoon. (The Enterprise/Max Egener)
VALE – Rick Dentinger was busy on the phone Monday, making plans to take care of customers and rebuild from the weekend fire that destroyed the family’s granary.
He used the family’s hardware store as his command post, juggling calls, visitors and tasks.
The granary that was smoldering a block away had manufactured livestock feed for farmers and processed grains, including barley, corn, oats and wheat.
The company sold the feed and seed products to local farmers. In addition, the business sold dog food bought from Purina Mills and other pet products supplied by Purina.
The family also operates an Ontario facility that receives wheat from farmers in the region and stores it for later processing elsewhere.
For Rick Dentinger, grandson of the founder of Dentinger Feed and Seed and currently the manager, 80 years in business means building a close relationship with the community. The fourth generation of the family is now helping run it.
The journey, he said, started in 1938, when his grandfather established the business. The company’s original location was just a block away, near the corner of Washington Avenue and Glenn Street.
The family-owned feed mill moved to its current location in 1943, and has been the main shopping stop for area farmers since then.
“We’ve been in business for a long time,” said Dentinger. “I know we serve a lot of farmers.”
The Saturday fire scorched through feed, grains, seed and puppy chow, among other things in storage.
“We lost our inventory of whole grains, seeds,” said Dentinger. “ It was a total loss. Everything was gone.”
Dentinger said “there’s a disruption” for the area’s farming community, but he couldn’t say how much was lost for farmers.
“We’re hoping that in a week, we’ll have 90 percent of our products,” said Dentinger. He added that he has reached out to their supplier, Purina Mills, to talk about how they could help.
“We’re hoping to get some product made for us and have it brought down.”
As the owner of the main feed-and-seed stop for area farmers, Dentinger is working hard to quickly get the business back on its feet and serve its loyal customers, including 4-H club. The granary produced a special feed for 4-H club livestock, and Dentinger hopes that people have enough to get through the week. The Malheur County Fair opened Tuesday and runs through Saturday.
“I’m hoping that a lot of people have already purchased the feed they would need to get through the fair,” said Dentinger.
The fire didn’t cause a total loss for local farmers, as the grain and feed now mixed in the ashes from the weekend fire was insured, Dentinger said.
Moving forward, Dentinger and his sons are hoping to rebuild the mill and continue manufacturing livestock feed.
“It’s nice to live in a small community,” said Dentinger. “We’ve already had so much help. It’s times like these when you’re glad to live in a place like this.”
An investigation continues into determine the cause of the fire.
Meanwhile, the Dentinger’s hardware store in downtown Vale and receiving facility in Ontario are still open for business.
Contact the reporters at [email protected].