Terris Matthews, Matthews Ridgeview Farm: Wynne, AR
The Matthews family has been in the sweet potato business for more than 100 years. As a fourth-generation sweet potato farmer, Terris Matthews has a rich knowledge for farming, marketing, and growing the family business. In 2006, Terris and his wife, Kim, decided to expand their business. First, with additional acreage, Matthews Ridgeview Farm was able to start producing enough sweet potatoes to sell over a million bushels a year. In addition to the acreage, Matthews grew their storage, packing facility, and work force in order to keep up with the demand for the sweet and nutritious potatoes. The family operation has become the largest grower, packer, and shipper of sweet potatoes in the state of Arkansas. Not only have they been able to move into international distribution channels, but they have also added an impressive list of major, nationally known retailers to their resume.
With a thriving agricultural business, Matthews Ridgeview Farm needed the proper tools to meet the market’s demand for their product. A third of a million pounds of potatoes are washed, inspected, and packaged each week, but transferring the one thousand-pound crates from storage to the washer can be quite the task. Moving crates by hand or by pallet jacks only allowed for a few crates a day, so it was impossible to keep up with the increased demand. The Lilly Company was able to provide Matthews with a solution that would nearly guarantee the modern sweet potato packing line could be efficient enough to meet the challenges facing them. Prior to the Lilly Company and the introduction to the Toyota line of lift truck equipment, Matthews was spending more time and money repairing and replacing broken down forklifts, than they were using them. This new line of equipment was able to provide a lower total cost of ownership by providing a quality, reliable, and durable truck, that can withstand the dirt, dust, and frequent usage of the sweet potato industry, thus keeping their units out of the repair bay. Additionally, The Lilly Company was able to meet the customers’ unique logistical needs by offering a specialized joystick control option to the forklifts, so that the operators can perform at maximum efficiency, while at the same time… in maximum comfort!
“The Lilly Company, their product line, and their business expertise have been a great asset to our growing business demands, and the leasing options they offered us were a game changer!”, says Matthews. “We know that our equipment is going to perform when we need it! That’s why we love Toyota!”