We spent our only full day in Rio Grande, Ohio visiting the exhibits at the Bob Evans farm (after we had our first ever Bob Evans restaurant breakfast at the restaurant located in front of the farm). Then we visited the nearby town of Gallipolis, Ohio. We came here, not because we were highly interested in the farm or the restaurant history, but because it offered us an excuse to find a different way to head south. It turned out to be a very interesting look at success from hard work and principals of corporate management before the greed that has generated our current crop of corporate failures in pursuit of the quick buck.
The restaurant and farm business was started by the son and Uncle of Welsh immigrants, whose focus was to provide a service to the public in a fair way that would also allow them to have reasonable profit. The business grew rapidly over the years with Robert “bob” Evans the visible spokesman and long time president of the company. It remains a success story after wisely resisting an attempted takeover from a large food industry conglomerate.
Reviewing the history of the family and business, you come away with a respect for the way the business has been operated, even if you are not a fan of the product. It is a family business success story and a visit to its home is worth the trip.
Also on the farm is the remaining building of a nearby community that dated from the revolutionary war period –Adamsville. The founder was Adam Rickabaugh, who fought on the revolutionary war and is buried in a cemetery also located on the Evans farm.
We also visited the nearby town of Gallipolis, Ohio, which was founded by a group of 300 to 400 French middle class settlers escaping the results of the French revolution in the late 1700’s. They made a success of the venture and the town today looks like many of the other Ohio River towns except with a distinctive French flare. The town is well known for its many Greek revival buildings. Also of interest is the fact that in the early 1800’s six Welsh Families arrived and seeing the possibilities encouraged other Welsh families to immigrate to the area. Today, there are many families in the area descended from these Welsh immigrants, particularly in the Rio Grande area.