It's been a staple benchmark in communities for several years. But now, especially in Watseka, the closing of the farm equipment store Stock and Field inflicts some hurt. Stock and Field is closing all, its stores, effective March 31.
Known for years and headquarted in Watseka as Big R, the store were community benchmarks in 26 cities and towns in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. Big R started in 1964. Watseka businessman Bill Crabtree and his wife, Pat, expanded the locations with popular brands and customer support. Big R was sold to Jerry Gibbs, who directed the business expansion locations. Then, the store was sold to a Minnesota businessman in 2018. Matt Whebbe then changed the store name a year later to Stock and Field.
Employees at several of the outlets, including Watseka, Gibson City and Danville, confirmed that all of the company’s locations are holding liquidation sales and are set to close. Efforts to reach company officials in Minnesota went unanswered.
Last June, a Boston-based private equity firm loaned the company $60 million to provide for additional working capital.
Stock and Field locations include Watseka, Gibson City, Pontiac,Danville, Tilton and Morris.