John Ewing Co. buys Fla. supplement maker


LA SALLE – The ongoing fever for mergers and buyouts has hit this small Northern Colorado community, too.

Nutrapro Inc., a Colorado-chartered corporation and owner of the John Ewing Co., which has operated here for more than half a century, recently purchased Vitality Systems Inc., a company based in Tampa, Fla., said Chris Shaver, Nutrapro’s chief operating officer.

Both companies manufacture and distribute dietary supplements for animals.

Shaver, who bought Ewing in 1995, said the purchase was a stock swap valued at $1.5 million. The merger is projected to swell Nutrapro’s 1997 revenues of $1 million to $2.5 million in 1998, he said.

“We also expect to hire three to four additional employees for production and office/marketing positions,”Shaver said. Ewing employs eight at its facility on North First Street.

Gerald Schmoling, a veterinarian and one of Vitality’s owners, will move Vitality’s entire operation to Ewing’s facilities this summer and will take over as Nutrapro’s president.

To accommodate Vitality, Ewing is remodeling present facilities consisting of the 10,000 square feet used to manufacture and warehouse the products and the 2,000 square feet used for office and administrative activities, Shaver said.

Ewing traditionally sells over the counter to feed and tack stores and to racetracks nationally and internationally, whereas Vitality distributes its products directly to veterinarians.

It is also a marriage of both companies’ product lines.

While Ewing’s primary focus is the manufacture of vitamins and supplements primarily for thoroughbreds and other horses, Vitality’s impetus has been the manufacture of supplements for small animals and the manufacture of veterinary instruments, Shaver said.

But while product lines and markets will be merged under Nutrapro, both companies will retain their current identities and product labels, Shaver said.

Ewing was started by John Ewing, a breeder and trainer of thoroughbred racehorses. He developed the company’s premier line, a group of supplements for horses known as Formula 707 Products, and ran the company until his death in 1990.

After Shaver bought the company from Ewing’s son, he introduced several new products for horses as well as for small animals and began the custom manufacturing of supplements for zoo animals, particularly elephants.

Shaver said the two companies plan to expand the custom product lines as well as those for small animals.

Burrows goes international

GREELEY – The next time you tour a feedlot or dairy farm in Hungary or Indonesia, take a good look at their tub grinders. If you see a “Burrows Enterprises”stamp on one, you’ll know it came all the way from Greeley, Colorado.

Burrows, a local manufacturer of tub grinders and irrigation pumps since 1977, has been selling equipment to Canada since its inception, but, until recently, has only dabbled in international sales from time to time.

But once the company began actively pursuing foreign customers, sales blossomed and now total $120,000 to $150,000 annually, or about 15 percent of all sales, said Royal Burrows, vice president.

So far, the company has sold equipment for use at beef feedlots in South America and Indonesia and at dairy farms in Hungary.

“Years ago, we sold some equipment to Russia. We thought they would just copy it and produce it themselves even though they assured us they wouldn’t because they said all their highly technical people were in space and war programs,”he said.

Apparently, Russia didn’t copy Burrows equipment, so today, the company is taking advantage of the efforts of emerging countries and former Russian satellites to modernize farming methods.

In the beginning, it was more difficult to sell overseas, but, Burrows explained, it becomes easier “once you learn how.”

“We also found that if we can ship in a container, the costs are less,”he said. To do that, the company must make the machine and then disassemble it and block it to fit into the shipping container.

“That part was a real challenge at first,”Burrows said.