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100-plus years later, Hinton Mills true to form

‘Faith, Family, Friends and Farming’

2019 Seed Days event at May's Lick Mill. Photo: Hinton Mills
A bulk truck being loaded for deliveries at a Hinton Mills location Photo: Hinton Mills
Hinton Mills President Bud Hinton (left) speaks with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue during the Secretary’s visit to Hinton Mills in 2018. Photo: Hinton Mills
A big sale at the original Hinton's Store (1931). Photo: Hinton Mills
May's Lick Mill. Photo: Hinton Mills
Before COVID-19, Hinton Mills held customer and community events several times a year. This photo is from its celebration of May’s Lick Mill’s 50th anniversary in 2019. Photo: Leah Pottinger Photography

To listen to Adam Hinton tell the story of his family’s business is to understand that the success of its customers is what defines the Hinton Mills farm supply and feed mill operation. 

“We believe that it’s our responsibility to help build the kind of community we want to live in and raise our kids in,” Hinton says. He and his brothers Matt and Nathan serve as vice presidents of the company. Their father, Bud Hinton, is president of the fourth-generation business, which has five locations around northeastern Kentucky. 

After opening the first Hinton Mills store in Goddard in 1918, Frank L. and Ellora Hinton moved the business a few miles down the road to Plummers Landing in 1923. After serving in World War II, their son, Frank O. Hinton, and his wife, Maxine, returned to the family business. Frank O. had a passion for raising livestock, and in 1956, he expanded the general store by adding a feed mill. By 1977, Hinton Mills had added locations in Flemingsburg, Ewing and May’s Lick, primarily serving local dairy operations and tobacco farmers. A fifth location opened in Cynthiana in 2015. All five stores pride themselves on having a wide range of quality products for farmers, farm families and those who enjoy the rural lifestyle. 

“We’re always looking for ways to not only serve our customers, but to add economic and community-oriented opportunities,” Adam Hinton says. “If there’s a youth or community activity, we make it our business to support it.”

Fleming-Mason Energy founder

The family’s ethos echoes the cooperative principle “Commitment to Community.” In fact, in 1938, Hinton Mills’ patriarch Frank L. Hinton was also one of the founders of Fleming-Mason Energy Cooperative, traveling regularly to Washington, D.C., to advocate for rural electrification. 

“The Hinton family and their wonderful employees embody everything that’s good and great about Kentucky,” says Joni Hazelrigg, Fleming-Mason Energy Cooperative president and CEO. “They are rooted in tradition, a strong work ethic and family values, yet also are innovators, always looking for new ways to serve their customers.” 

“The folks at Fleming-Mason Energy are great partners,” Hinton says. “We find ourselves with ever-increasing electricity demands, thanks to our expanding mills and increasing technology in our stores. They’ve more than earned our trust over the years with their great service and quick solutions when problems come up.” 

In 2015, Matt, Adam and Nathan Hinton, along with two other business partners, started Kentucky Welding Institute in Flemingsburg. The institute has now trained students from 42 states and has placed graduates in positions around the world. 

Hinton summarizes the Hinton Mills approach with four F’s—“Faith, Family, Friends and Farming.” 

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