Friday, March 28, 2014


EDD'S is the name of the crop fertilizer business that my dad, Ed Swartzendruber, had a hand in founding and running for 50 years.  Most folks are under the impression that EDD'S was named after Ed, but that is not the case.  EDD'S Supplies has a relatively new website and in the About Us Section there are nice bits of History, and here is the correct version of how EDD'S got its name:

Edd’s Supplies, Inc., was started in 1960 by Ellsworth Fanning, Ed Swartzendruber, and Dick Leckler. Despite the popular belief that it is named after Ed - Edd’s actually stands for the three men’s names: The “E” is for Ellsworth, the “D” for Dick, and the “S” for Swartzendruber. Ed’s with one “d” was already taken, so Ellsworth said, “Just add another D on it!”

Some of you may recollect that EDS was already taken by Electronic Data Systems, a small little electronics business in Plano started by H. Ross Perot that HP bought in 2008 for $13.9 billion.

Here is one of my favorite pictures of Ed the corn farmer - a man out-standing in his field! 

It's interesting that over the years, the corn has been selectively bred to be much shorter so that more energy can be put into the ears rather than the stalks.  In 1962, Ed was the first to go with irrigation on 'the sand' south of Goshen, and now nearly every corn farm in the area is irrigated.  Check out the news photo on the EDD'S site and note the cinder block walls surrounding the below-grade irrigation pump - I helped with building that gem!

Here's a picture of Ellsworth and Ed at the fertilizer mixing apparatus - the old hand-mixing system has been replaced with computer-controlled systems.  Nice hat Ed!!

EDD'S Supplies is still rolling along, and if you are in Shipshewana, stop by to say Hi and maybe even get a tour.  Ellsworth's son Steve is now in charge and Ed's position has been ably filled by Jimmy Young.  Although Ed often joked "We are just a service to the community", which indeed they were, EDD'S also managed to make a profit along the way.


Bizzy Brain said...

Great pictures and interesting story. I like Ed's pocket protector, even though it is about five pens shy of what I would carry in mine at Purdue. (Thinking back, no wonder I couldn't get a date.) I always thought EDD’s Supplies was too humble a name for the size of the operation. Was thinking Fanning, Swartzendruber, and Leckler International Fertilizer Corporation Ltd. would be more appropriate. Lol! Also,people have told me I would have made an excellent fertilizer salesman.

DES said...

Yes, Edd's was always good for some promotional gardoo - the pocket protector and the hat are good examples. Also, jackets, gloves, knives, pens and one of my favorites, salt and pepper shakers!