Around 2,000 Attend Birkey’s Farm Store Grand Opening

Thu April 24, 2014 - Midwest Edition

Rodney Bergman (L) of Bergman Farms is welcomed to the open house by Jeff Hedge, regional manager, Birkey’s.
Rodney Bergman (L) of Bergman Farms is welcomed to the open house by Jeff Hedge, regional manager, Birkey’s.
Rodney Bergman (L) of Bergman Farms is welcomed to the open house by Jeff Hedge, regional manager, Birkey’s. Manning the Burlington installation booth are Jacob Roark of Birkey’s and Willie Dillahunty Burlington Installation Corp. Bruce Berstler, territory manager of Cummins Filtration, answers questions about the Cummins fliters. Roger Schumacher (L) visits with Mike Meehan of Okada America, which displayed the ORV 550 skid steer hammer. Taking a rest at the K&M Manufacturing booth is Joe Melecosky of Melecosky Farms. Tim Murphy (L) of Paladin and Jim Berryman of Eager Beaver Trailers in front of the Bradco extreme heavy duty ground shark. (L-R): Woods Equipment representatives Kera Roschi, Kent Helbig and Jeff Kritch in front of the Batwing rotary mower. (L-R): Former owner Kelly Birkey, Store Manager Brian McCoy, Regional Manager Jeff Hedge, Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing, President and CEO Mike Hedge, Business Manager Jim Lyons, and former owner and CEO Gary Hedge were all honory members of the ribbon cut All 42 employees of Birkey’s team were in attendance. Mike Hedge, president and CEO of Birkey’s, thanks everyone for coming to the open house. (L-R): Bill Johnson, CIBC of Illinois; Mike Hedge, president and CEO of Birkey’s; Jeff Hedge, regional manager of Birkey’s; and Van Dukeman, Busey Bank; catch up at Birkey’s grand opening event. (L-R): Taking the tour of the new Urbana, Ill., facility are Curt Carter, Birkey’s; Gary Gregerson, Birkey’s; Dan Hesterberg, Sunrise Farms; Blair Chapple, Birkey’s; and Patrick Malone, also of Birkey’s. Leo (L) and John Clennon (R) stopped by the Werk-Brau Co. booth to ask Trevor Ballinger   questions about the Werk-Brau buckets. Stopping by the Kubota booth to see the SVL 90 compact track loader (L-R) are Gary Turner, Will Stoerger and Kubota Regional Sales Manager Matt Bernius. Welcoming Drake Homes to the open house are representatives of Birkey’s and Case Construction. (L-R): Avery Drake, Drake Homes; Brian McCoy, Birkey’s; Mike and Jeff Hedge,  Birkey’s; Steve and Mary Drake, Drake Homes; George Preocanin, C (L-R): Phil and Eric Lake and Jim Haaksma of Savoy look at the Wacker Neuson equipment with Wacker Neuson Sales Representative Greg Ramer. Dave Watson of NorAm answering some questions about the NorAm grader from Dane Darr of Darr Farms.

Birkey’s Farm Store hosted a grand opening celebration April 4 and 5 to announce the opening of its new store facility on High Cross Road in Urbana, Ill. An estimated 2,000 individuals attended the two-day event. The celebration began with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9:30 a.m. by the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce and the Mayor of Urbana; approximately 200 were in attendance. Throughout the day, customers took guided tours of the building and attended educational clinics on planters, equipment leasing, advanced farming systems, and oil and filter products. Customers also browsed the 47-vendor fair organized by the company.Later, more than 1,200 guests attended the fish fry dinner. During the meal, Regional Manager Jeff Hedge and Store Manager Brian McCoy recognized the store’s 42 employees and presented the general contractor, Drake Homes, with a gift."We had a great crowd; it exceeded our expectations. We saw younger customers and older customers who have done business with us over the years — folks who were retired as well as folks just getting started in the business," said Jeff Hedge. "For some guests, it was almost like a reunion."Several of Birkey’s former owners attended the event, including Kelly Birkey, Wayne Coffin, and former CEO Gary Hedge. Current owner and retired CEO Ron Birkey also was present."Walking in the door of our building brought a smile to the faces of the former owners — they take as much pride in the facility as we do," said Hedge. Also during the April 4 dinner, CEO Mike Hedge spoke about the company’s 60th anniversary and "Hunger Drive" campaign, which has raised more than $150,000 for local foodbanks. He recognized the eight Parkland College students who restored a 1954 Farmall Super MTA that has traveled across the state encouraging donations. On April 5, more than 400 individuals attended the family-focused community day. Kids enjoyed a bounce house, slide, and other activities; adults viewed new lawn and garden equipment demonstrations. A free lunch was served."The Saturday event gave us a chance to meet neighbors in the Champaign-Urbana community. It was a great turnout. We were very pleased from start to finish—from the ribbon cutting to the vendor fair to the community day," said Hedge.