Gail Sohler celebrating 50th year at Stockmen’s Livestock in Yankton | TSLN.com
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Gail Sohler celebrating 50th year at Stockmen’s Livestock in Yankton

Gail Sohler has been the sole owner of Stockmen’s Livestock Market, Yankton, SD, for 50 years and recently told the Yankton Press & Dakotan he isn’t sure how he survived the early years and created a successful business.

“We started from below nothing,” Sohler said. “I was the night man, the load-out man, the yard guy and the field rep. My wife was in the office. We still look back and can’t figure out how we made it. But I guess I wouldn’t have it any other way. Nothing is easy in life, and hard work will pay off.”

Sohler’s market is a family affair. Along with his wife, Janet, his son, Jay, and daughter, Lori are also involved in the business. Furthermore, many of his key employees have been employed there for decades.



“I’ve always taken a lot of pride in surrounding myself with high-quality, reputable people,” he said. “I’ve always believed that, if you can hire somebody smarter than yourself, it’s a good move. Anybody who thinks you can run a successful business without top employees is fooling themselves. Any business man who takes all the credit for himself is on the wrong track.”

But the primary reason the business has thrived, he explained, is because of a philosophy that customer service should be placed above all else.



“I believe in killing my customers with service. In today’s business world, many people don’t even know how to spell service,” Sohler said. “Treat everybody on an equal basis. If you’ve got three head, 1,300 head or 3,000 head, we can handle every size of customer that wants to do business with us. I’m a big believer in treating the guy with three the same as the guy with 3,000. So many people that started off small with us when they were young are now long-time big customers.”

Sohler, 73, was Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) president in 1980. He said he has no plans to leave his business. “There always comes a time in anybody’s life when you get to the side and hand the reins over to somebody else,” Sohler said. “As long as my health is good and I still have an interest, I’ll be the head coach.”

Gail Sohler has been the sole owner of Stockmen’s Livestock Market, Yankton, SD, for 50 years and recently told the Yankton Press & Dakotan he isn’t sure how he survived the early years and created a successful business.

“We started from below nothing,” Sohler said. “I was the night man, the load-out man, the yard guy and the field rep. My wife was in the office. We still look back and can’t figure out how we made it. But I guess I wouldn’t have it any other way. Nothing is easy in life, and hard work will pay off.”

Sohler’s market is a family affair. Along with his wife, Janet, his son, Jay, and daughter, Lori are also involved in the business. Furthermore, many of his key employees have been employed there for decades.

“I’ve always taken a lot of pride in surrounding myself with high-quality, reputable people,” he said. “I’ve always believed that, if you can hire somebody smarter than yourself, it’s a good move. Anybody who thinks you can run a successful business without top employees is fooling themselves. Any business man who takes all the credit for himself is on the wrong track.”

But the primary reason the business has thrived, he explained, is because of a philosophy that customer service should be placed above all else.

“I believe in killing my customers with service. In today’s business world, many people don’t even know how to spell service,” Sohler said. “Treat everybody on an equal basis. If you’ve got three head, 1,300 head or 3,000 head, we can handle every size of customer that wants to do business with us. I’m a big believer in treating the guy with three the same as the guy with 3,000. So many people that started off small with us when they were young are now long-time big customers.”

Sohler, 73, was Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) president in 1980. He said he has no plans to leave his business. “There always comes a time in anybody’s life when you get to the side and hand the reins over to somebody else,” Sohler said. “As long as my health is good and I still have an interest, I’ll be the head coach.”


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