In a short time Dannevirke Dairy Supplies has gone from a business with 30 customers to 1250 customers throughout the East Coast.

"As we've grown, so has our customer base," co-owner Paul Andersen said.

"As we outgrew our premises on Miller St, the old White Bus building at the Mangatera end of High St came up. Just being more visible has brought us more business and agencies."

And while Dannevirke Dairy Supplies is dependent on dairy farmers doing well, Mr Andersen said the company is still looking to expand into other areas.


"There are quite a few businesses like ours out there, but the reason we've gone from 30 customers to 1250 is quality service and a high calibre of staff to deliver this.

"Everyone sells the same thing, but our customer service sets us apart and at the end of the day, it's me and Gundy [co-owner Lance Gundersen] whose names are on the door. We're happy to work 24 hours a day to make sure our customers get the best."

The company now employs nine full-time staff, including its owners, with between two and four part-timers employed during the busy winter period.

"We now have customers from Eketahuna to Wairoa, with 60 per cent of our business done in the Tararua, the rest [40 per cent] spread throughout Central Hawke's Bay and up to Patoka,' Mr Gundersen said.

"We've been in this business for a long time, so we're used to the cyclic nature of the dairy industry, but at the moment it's just more volatile, with the peaks and troughs bigger."

Mr Gundersen, a former dairy farmer, said at the moment dairy farmers are going through their first-ever winter with no retrospective dairy payments.

"I don't think people out there realise how tough it is for them [dairy farmers]," he said.

However, Dannevirke Dairy Supplies have work booked through until December, with three major contracts under way. An 80-bale rotary shed in the Manawatu and in Dannevirke at the moment, a 60-bale rotary cowshed at Te Rehunga and what they believe is a first of its kind in this area, a 350-cow free stall barn south of Dannevirke.


The company has been involved in installing the tanks, water system, effluent transfer system, and hydrant and flood wash system, along with a fine-bubble aeration system with a blower and diffuser and all the stormwater plumbing for the barn on the Verwaayen dairy farm.

"This project has been a challenge and a learning curve," Mr Gundersen said.

"We stock a full range of fittings and if people don't know what they want, we do.

"We carry about a quarter of a million dollars of stock on hand which helps the farmers get the job done straight away without delays and our premises are now large enough the customers can drive right inside and load up under cover."

Both men appreciate doing business in their hometown comes with benefits.

"Farmers here are awesome to deal with," Mr Gundersen said.


"And we know being born and bred here helps. Farmers like dealing with the owners of a company and Dannevirke's farming community is very loyal."

However, just 60 per cent of the company's work is now based around milking machine installation and service because, as Mr Andersen said, there is no use putting all their eggs in one basket.

"Originally 95 per cent of our work was in dairying, now there's a 50/50 split between that and effluent and water pumps, filtration and feed systems," he said.

Aware of their place in the community, Dannevirke Dairy Supplies also gives back through sponsoring various clubs, schools and organisations such as the rescue helicopter. Last year this amounted to around $10,000.

"I think when you make your money out of the customers in small rural towns like Dannevirke it is important to put something back," Mr Andersen said.