The Rich History of Joe Milo’s Trading Company
Richard and Lee Van der Wagen opened the first trading post and U.S. Post office at this location in the 1940’s. In 1953, the Foutz brothers bought the store from the Van der Wagens and operated it until 1993 when Wanda Foutz, the widow of Cal Foutz, sold it to Joe Milo, whose real name is Joe Milosevich.
Joe Milo started in the trading business at the age of 22 working from the bottom up. He learned the business by doing everything from sweeping floors to operating a cash register.
Joe’s many years of hard work, patience, and determination have resulted in a successful trading post business. Joe’s philosophy is that in this business “you have to learn to crawl before you learn to walk, and you have to learn to walk before you can learn to run.”
Joe credits his success to learning and watching from some of the best traders in the business; J. B. Tanner, Tobe Turpen, Bill Richardson, Cal Foutz, Gilbert and Armand Ortega and the Van der Wagen brothers, Bernie and Richard.
Joe believes the secret to this business’ success is earning the customer’s trust. Having a good relationship with the customer from the minute they come through the door is important. “An unhappy customer may not complain, they just won’t come back.”
Joe keeps the pawn items of his Native American customers longer than the required four months; he generally keeps the pawn items up to one year. “I do everything I can for that customer not to lose their pawn. That’s part of being a true Indian Trader – working with people means not just when they’re on top, but also when they’re down. They’re very loyal people and I can’t think of anything else in the world I’d rather be doing.”