Rodney Bergman (L) of Bergman Farms is welcomed to the open house by Jeff Hedge, regional manager, Birkey’s.
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.