Two Washington County businesses receive Venture Awards
Two Washington County businesses were recently honored with the Iowa Venture Award. The Iowa Area Development Group established the awards in 1988 to honor the most accomplished business leaders and companies.
Premier Sheep Supplies Ltd., of Washington was honored with the award after being nominated by Access Energy. In 1977 Stan Potratz returned to his family’s farm in rural Washington County after living and farming in England for a decade. He decided to raise sheep, but became frustrated when the essential tools and fences that he had used in England weren’t available in the United States. He began importing the products and word spread quickly. Soon he was supplying field-proven products nationwide. Premier Sheep Supplies is now a business with 40 employees and is still located on the original 150-acre farm. The most recent addition is a 37,500 square foot warehouse/shipping center. The building allows Premier to have more items in stock, and reduce back orders.
Also receiving an award was Kehl Management Inc. The company received its first gaming license in the State of Iowa in 1990 and now has casinos in Dubuque, Clinton, Burlington-Fort Madison, Riverside and Larchwood. The two newest entertainment complexes, the Riverside Casino and Golf resort in Riverside and the Grand Falls Casino resort in Larchwood are being recognized for the economic impact and entertainment they bring to the state. The Riverside Casino is the largest employer in Washington County with 750 employees. The Grand Falls Casino employs 525 people and estimates that over 80 percent of the 1 million visitors each year are from out of state.