As seen in the Tried & True Spring 2021 issue
The Wabash River snakes through a series of towns and cities that generations of Midwestern families have called home. Where it branches into the Salamonie River, you’ll find Lagro, Indiana. Founded in 1835, Lagro is a cozy community made up of generations of residents who love their tight-knit hometown. It is also where you’ll find Eads & Son Bulldozing, owned by Fratco partners and cousins Tadd and Scott Eads.
Established in 1968, Eads & Son began with one bulldozer and the determination of Ronnie Eads. If you ask Scott what inspired his father to become his own boss and launch the family business, you’ll hear the word “opportunity.” Something Fratco is no stranger to as a business who loves partnering with entrepreneurs. “My dad started in the ag business as a farmer and also filled silos,” Scott shares. “My dad saw an opportunity to branch into other areas of agriculture and take on construction as well.” Scott grew up working alongside his father and saw the potential in helping run the family business. When you look at the services Eads offers their customers, one would wonder what the dynamic duo of Scott and Tadd does not provide. Their list includes construction site prep, excavation, backhoe services, trucking material to and from sites, retention ponds, wood clearing, septic repair, new and resurfaced driveways, and last yet never least—farm drainage.
When asked when he came to work alongside his uncle and cousin, Tadd shares, “It’s been so long since I’ve been here, and Eads is such a big part of my history, that I have no idea when I came on board,” he laughs.
Scott adds, “Tadd showed up to help one day, and my dad wouldn’t let him leave.” As radio personality and storyteller Paul Harvey once coined, now you know the rest of the story regarding these cousins and entrepreneurs.
Closeness is a huge component of what makes their combined efforts in business flourish. It’s also what Scott and Tadd admire about Fratco. The businessmen appreciate and value the way the company attends to their needs. Customers since the late ‘80s, the camaraderie the Eads feel with their current Fratco sales rep, Chris Calisto, makes their jobs installing pipe that much easier. To add a little more humor to the story, the Eadses report that, conveniently, all of their Fratco representatives through the years have been named “Chris.” “I think we are on Chris 3.0 by now,” they laugh.
When asked how the cousins were introduced to Fratco products, they were investigating different lines of pipe and took a long hard look at several manufacturers. The cost was a key factor, yet other items were essential to check off the list when choosing a partner. “We were comparing costs for a job,” Tadd shares, “and when it came down to price, value and customer service, Fratco was the only choice for us.”
The list of benefits stemming from the Eads’ relationship with Fratco is miles long, a lot like the pipe they’ve installed for customers over the years. Trust is built and earned in any relationship, whether it’s business or personal. Tadd is quick to interject what it is about Fratco and why they keep coming back for more pipe. “Fratco always stands behind their products—100%. That’s something we do in our business too. Those are the kind of people we want to work with.”
There is a reason family businesses tend to partner with one another. The thread of hard work and knowing that at the end of the day your name is above the door means everything to small businesses continuing to flourish. When the Eads ponder the Fratco qualities that keep them loyal customers, dependability is at the top of their list. “You can always count on your product showing up and to spec,” Scott testifies. “It’s rare, but when we need replacement pipe, they’re on it. If you have a problem, they make it right.”
Being vital contributors to your hometown is something both Fratco and the Eads family believe in. That’s why the business partners take great pride in their work. They also care deeply about their community and giving back. They donate their time and talents to The Community Foundation of Wabash County to help revitalize their hometown. As with many other small towns, Lagro is going through a historical rehabilitation downtown. In the 1960s, 750 people called Lagro home. The last census showed that this town, which lies between Huntington and Wabash, reports just over 400 residents. Once prosperous as a transportation hub on the Wabash and Erie Canal, today’s Lagro advocates are dedicated to seeing the area resurge. Members who are passionate about improving the area have seen it happen in other small towns in Indiana and beyond. They believe Lagro is no exception. Scott, Tadd and their crews have installed new water and sewer lines and hauled gravel to the new River Walk site. While construction of some areas remains underway, a new public pavilion, biking trail, boat ramp and public restrooms are complete.
When you’re trusted and well known in your community, there is a sense of pride that permeates everything you do. From how Scott and Tadd divide work responsibilities to their equipment always being ready to go and in top form, they care about how they represent themselves to their customers. “When you’re around in business for a long time, it’s because you’re trusted in your community,” Scott shares. With each having their roles—Tadd handles farm drainage while Scott takes commercial and residential calls—it keeps them twice as productive in the town of Lagro they both love and call home.