Arens Trucking bids adieu after 82 year-run

Thursday, December 3, 2020
From left: Jerry, Joe, and Rob Arens stand in front of the Arens, Inc. trucks one last time.
(Photo contributed)

After 82 years of serving Remsen and the surrounding area, Arens Trucking will be closing their doors on December 1. Arens Trucking made the announcement back in October that they were selling the business, but no one had expressed any interest. Joe Arens stated, "No one has expressed any interest in buying the business. We are selling equipment piece by piece.” Jerry Arens added, "The business has not been sold but most of the equipment has been sold individually."

Arens Trucking, also known as Arens, Inc., started in 1939. Brothers Joe, Jerry, and Rob Arens recently owned the business until their last day of operation on December 1, 2020. The brothers shared a little history about the business. Joe stated, "Our dad, Oswald Arens, started the business in 1939, 82 years ago. Dad borrowed $1,000 from his aunt, Mag. This bought the truck license, insurance, and a set of chains. Now, we have ten of our own trucks and two leased operators. We have six hoppers, five livestock trailers, and three vans. There are seven full-time and three part-time employees. We haul livestock, grain and seed.” Jerry continued, "It started as a farm to market business. We expanded into hauling liquid fertilizer with tankers. Then we got involved with frozen foods working with Harker’s and Wells Blue Bunny in Le Mars. We also haul a lot of seed corn and seed beans."

Joe has worked at Arens Trucking all his life, “I started with the business in 1965. Other than one-year in Vietnam, this is the only place I have ever worked.” He has been married to his wife, Betty, for 45 years. They have three children and ten grandchildren.

Jerry started driving at 16. He then went to college at Iowa, graduated after four years and came back home in 1973. He's been at Arens Trucking ever since. He is married to wife, Monica. They have two children, four grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and one on the way.

Rob's wife, Pam, is the President of McCormack Distributing in Le Mars. Their son, Matt, works at Marsh & McLennan in Urbandale, and daughter, Katie, works for Sanford in Sioux Falls, S.D.

There have been some memorable moments while working at Arens Trucking. Joe explained, "We moved into our new shop in 1980. Also, having two of our drivers get 1,000,000 miles accident free awards was very memorable.” Rob added, "We have worked for several farm families for three generations."

Another memorable moment happened in February 2018, where Arens Trucking was awarded the Remsen Chamber Business of the Year.

When asked why now was the time to retire, Jerry answered, "Joe and I have both reached retirement age and beyond.” Joe added other reasons such as, "government regulations, lack of help, and that we are getting older.” Rob stated, "I won’t officially retire for a while yet."

What they are looking forward to now that they are retired include, “Having some free time, not shackled to the phone, not having to worry about weather and all the problems that come with it.” explained Joe. Jerry included, "No longer having the 24-7, seven days a week responsibility."

Over the many years of doing business, Arens Trucking has served many people and the three brothers wish to extend many thank you's. Joe expressed his gratitude, "Thanks first to my wife for putting up with all the odd hours, missed events, and middle of the night phone calls. To all of our drivers and our customers - some of whom are third generation customers and friends.” Jerry stated, "We’d like to thank our loyal customers, some of whom are third generation. Also all the employees, both full and part-time." Rob concluded, "To our parents, Oswald and Doris, who worked so hard to start this business. Our siblings, Jim and Lou, who are both deceased. Our sister, Ann, and brother, Phil, who all helped out along the way. So many wonderful customers and our many employees who worked so hard for us, living and deceased."

All express their thanks to their wives the most, Rob simply stating, "We all have great wives who lived with our 24-7 schedule and never complained."