June 17th to 21st, 2013 is National Small Business week. Each year all states select their choice to vie for national small business of the year, which will be announced in Washington D.C June 21st. Though not winning the state award, to receive honorable mention is pretty amazing in itself, says a retired business owner from Thedford.
Jack Johnston, former owner of Pearson’s Livestock Equipment of Thedford, earlier this year was awarded a plaque by a representative from the NE SBA for honorable mention in the U.S. Small Business Administration from Nebraska’s Congressional 3rd District.
Pearson’s Livestock began in a ranch shop by Bud Pearson in 1962, when Bud made a self-catching headgate to allow him to process cattle by himself easier. Bud and wife Evelyn moved and expanded the business in 1963 to the east edge of Thedford. Jack began work at Pearson’s in 1971, first as a welder, then a salesman and distributor, covering four states. He was also involved in design and development of the straight sidewall squeeze chute which Pearson’s introduced in 1974. In 1990 Jack and wife Gail purchased Pearson’s Inc. from Bud.
“I was very humbled and honored to be even awarded honorable mention by the SBA, then to receive a plaque for it was that much more rewarding”.
Pearson’s is in their 50th year of production. Jack and Gail completed the sale of the business in January to David and JoAnn Rater and their son and wife, Ricky and Corrie Rater. Dave and JoAnn ranch near Antelope, Texas. Ricky and Corrie and their two young sons have moved to Thedford to manage the business. Jack and Gail look forward to traveling for pleasure, seeing their six children and ten grandchildren rather than traveling for business.