Couple finds business success with unique advantages of Rural America

August 01, 2013

Often times the benefits of building a business in Rural America are overlooked. However, what Michael and Anne LaBelle see as the competitive advantages of growing a business in Rural America are exactly what brought the couple back to the rural South and the Alabama Black Belt. In response to low demand for housing construction from the financial downturn, the LaBelles decided to close their construction company in Dallas and turn to fertilizer as a new endeavor. In the spring of 2010, they found what they saw to be the perfect place to start an organic fertilizer business: Fruitdale, a community of less than 200 in southern Alabama.

Building from knowledge about farming that Michael had gained as a young boy in Meridian, Mississippi, Mighty Grow was founded to produce high-quality organic fertilizer from chicken litter that could be used by certified organic growers. Research and development for their products are done on-site in Michael's raised bed gardens to ensure the most effective fertilizer. From these gardens, Michael and Anne also provide their customers and neighbors with organically-grown produce.

The location in this rural community turned out to not only provide the space they desired for their facility and raised gardens but also the skilled workforce they needed for a successful operation. Anne explains, "One of the advantages to relocating in this rural community [near Mobile] is the availability of skilled workers at an affordable rate. Many of these workers could be working on oil rigs or on location in Mobile but prefer to work for us and be closer to home."

Mighty Grow's success over the past three years has been in large part to its strategic placement in Fruitdale but also thanks to the company's president, Bill Sanderson, who has recently completed a major facility expansion, doubling the workforce of Mighty Grow to 17 employees, all from Washington County, Alabama. In the near future, the company plans to expand operations to two new facilities in south Mississippi and north Alabama where heavy broiler chicken production provides direct access to the necessary raw materials for organic fertilizer.

For more information on Mighty Grow products, go to