TAYLORVILLE — The last of the independently owned Big R Stores in the state of Illinois is under new ownership. They have been acquired by Quincy-based Farm and Home Supply.
It was revealed over the weekend that the stores in Taylorville and Lincoln closed on Friday and reopened Monday under its new name.
The Farm and Home store in Springfield will relocate from its North Dirksen location to the current Big R store down the street.
Farm and Home Supply has stores in western Illinois, Iowa, and eastern Missouri.
Why weren’t these stores in the initial Big R deal?
The Big R corporation was founded in 1964 in Watseka, initially as a farming supply store. The co-founders were Bill and Pat Crabtree.
Their son-in-law, Jerry Gibbs, was able to purchase a majority stake of the chain in 1976. His stake was sold to Crabtree’s son Joda and business partner Matt Whebbe, who would become the company’s CEO. In 2018, there were 23 stores in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Ohio.
However, one year later, the company expands into Michigan with stores in Portage and Lansing. At this time, Whebbe renamed the chain to Stock + Field to better reflect a more diverse merchandising mix.
Unfortunately for Stock + Field, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, liquidating all of its stores in 2021.
During liquidation, Edwardsville-based R.P. Lumber announced the acquisition of the store rights, continuing to operate under the Stock + Field brand.
However, in September, it was announced that a rebranding was in order to R.P. Home & Harvest.
It’s unknown as to why these three locations were still open unless they were franchise deals. If the three stores in Taylorville, Springfield, and Lincoln, this could explain the separate sale.
There is also a similar chain that operates in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, and Texas. It remains open to this day.
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Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.
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