David England was a little late to the Shop Local interview this week. He was called out to help the Hastings Fire Department with a tractor and grass fire. David has been a Volunteer Fireman in Waurika for 22 years. He and his wife, Lisa Gilmore England, are not only business owners of multiple businesses but have a strong belief that you give back to the communities in which you live. “We want Waurika to thrive,” David said. “This is our home. We all need to do what we can to make it a better place and we all need to Shop Local to keep what we have.”
David and Lisa own England Construction, England Fuel and Farm Supply which includes a greenhouse operation in summer months, England Tax Service, provide U-Haul rentals and offer bulk feed delivery. “We also carry Cattle-Lac brand liquid feed, which allows us to feed your cattle for you,” David said. “At the store, we have a full line of sack feed and mineral, including custom mineral as well as chemicals and fertilizer.”
They also offer pay at the pump 100% gas, highway & farm diesel that is available 24 hours a day. “Our goal is to provide products and services to Waurika and surrounding communities that other businesses do not offer,” David stated. “There is some cross-over in the oil products we carry, but we try not to compete with our business neighbors.” “We shop locally every time we can. We are in Beaver Lumber and Plumbing and Johnson Auto and Tractor multiple times a day. That’s just one example.”
Prior to purchasing Pilgreen Fuel and Farm, David owned a construction business and was away from home a great deal. “I felt like I lived in hotel rooms and, while I really enjoyed the construction work, I wanted to be home more. In 2011, I was hauling wheat for Ralph Pilgreen and he asked me to buy his business. I thought about it and decided the timing wasn’t right,” David stated. “As the travel began to wear on me more and more, however, I decided to take a little different career path and bought Ralph’s company in 2012,” David continued. “We still have the construction company which does mainly dirt work and utility construction and also have trucks that provide sand and gravel to the area as well as hauling much of our own products. A Lot of what I learned from that business has carried over to all the different types of business we have now.”
David is a 1987 graduate of Waurika High School and attended Waurika Schools from Kindergarten to high school graduation. Lisa attended schools in Terral until the ninth grade, when she moved to Waurika and graduated in 1985.
Lisa married her high school sweetheart, Lee Gilmore, and was married to him for 25 years before he died suddenly in 2012. While Lisa knew David in high school, and were also neighbors, it was work that brought them together. “Lisa and I started dating after I went to her for a tax problem that I asked her to help me resolve. I have to admit that I probably asked more questions that I needed to and kept going back for more and more tax advice and buying a lot of feed before I finally got her to go out with me.” They were married in 2014. Lisa has two children, Sydney Gilmore and Robert Gilmore and David has two daughters and one son, Shelby England Phillips, Davida England Harris and J.D. England. They have six grandchildren.
Lisa knew the feed store operation since she and Lee had owned and operated Gilmore Supply from 2006 to 2012 and also the Greenhouse operation. “The greenhouse operation is my favorite. I’ve always enjoyed working with plants and flowers and my time in the greenhouse is an escape from sitting at the desk and doing tax work and bookkeeping,” Lisa said. “The greenhouse is very calming. Kids love the greenhouse.” They get most of their plants from Red Dirt in Guthrie. “I like that all our plants are grown in Oklahoma,” Lisa added. “We have people from all over come to the greenhouse. Last spring, we had a customer from Eastern Oklahoma. When they left you couldn’t get one more plant in the back of their truck or in their back seat. I like helping people with their plants.”
Both David and Lisa enjoy helping people and answering questions. David’s experience in construction and his personal farming operation for all those years is very helpful when people have questions about a construction project. “I’m not a salesperson, but will answer questions and give advice,” David added. “I get questions about the best type of fertilizer to use and quite often about rock and construction work. We still have a full construction company. I like building things.” Lisa added, “He’s pretty creative and a perfectionist.”
When asked what has changed in their businesses, both agreed that it’s regulations. We sell anhydrous ammonia, ammonium nitrate and other dry fertilizer products. The ammonium nitrate is audited quarterly by the Department of Agriculture and annually by Homeland Security. “We have to have an evacuation plan, as well as yearly training with our safety consultants so that we are prepared if something were to go wrong with our storage,” David said. “Regulations are strict, but these are the best fertilizers for southern Oklahoma especially because of the hot temperatures,” David explained. “We sell 60 to 70 truckloads of anhydrous ammonia during season which is pretty much in July and August. We sell ammonium nitrate year-round. We are the only dealer for ammonium nitrate in about a 100-mile radius. We have delivered as far as Apache and Davidson and everywhere in between.”
How do they keep up with all their businesses? “Everything is seasonal, so it all works out, and it takes a lot of teamwork from us as well as our employees and our customers, which we think are some of the best around,” David explained. It does mean that they are busy 12 months out of the year and that vacations are taken whenever they have breaks. “We like to travel,” Lisa said. “I like it when he goes with me to tax schools, because that gives us some time together.”
Lisa has been preparing taxes for eleven years. “I started by working with Marilea Burge helping her with payroll and bookkeeping for her customers. She was a great mentor. When she passed away, I became friends with her daughter, Lynda Cantrell. When Lynda moved away, I purchased the business from her,” Lisa stated. “I’ve always enjoyed organizing and keeping receipts, doing bookkeeping and other paperwork. Strong organizational skills are a large part of keeping businesses and individuals straight for tax purposes.”
Lisa is a QuickBooks Pro Advisor and recertifies with the Internal Revenue Service every year. “Recertifying includes annual testing to make sure I’m current on tax changes,” Lisa said. “Tax law changes every single year.” Lisa is a member of the National Association of Tax Preparers and attends the Oklahoma State University tax school annually to make sure she is current on changes in farm and ranch regulations and laws.
When asked the best advice they could give couples starting a new business David was quick to reply, “Keep up with your paperwork.” Lisa added, “Organization and having all the paperwork is the most important thing.” “We started providing print outs to farmers and ranchers at the end of each year that show everything they purchased from us,” Lisa continued. “That’s a service we provide and it sure helps with tax reporting.”
David smiled and added, “My advice is to make sure you have a good bookkeeper.” He may have been thinking back to the payroll tax advice needed that led him to begin talking to a certain tax expert a few years ago. David and Lisa work hard and have a great partnership in all they do.