HERSCHER, Ill. — Stoller International held a ground-breaking ceremony Sept. 20 celebrating the beginning of construction for a new facility on the north edge of this Kankakee County community.
The 31,500-square-foot facility will feature a showroom, offices, repair shop and parts department, as well as an onsite storage shed. Construction is slated to be completed in the spring of 2020.
The Stoller implement business has been in Herscher since 1993, when it purchased the Case IH dealership operated by the Hendrix family.
Stoller International also has central Illinois dealerships in Pontiac, Minonk, Streator and Ottawa.
“We’re excited what this will do for the community of Herscher. We know it will improve the appearance of the north side of the highway. We know it will improve the property tax base and hopefully will increase sales tax receipts. And we hope that it will give all of our people here an opportunity to have more space to work and a more productive environment for service, parts and sales,” said Clark Stoller, owner/president.
“We’re thankful for the reception we’ve had for 26 years here in Herscher. We’ve come to the conclusion this is where we want to stay and by the grace of God that will be our plan.”
Lynn Stoller, owner/vice president, thanked the dealership employees and the village for its work with the company in helping make the new facility a reality.
“On Jan. 1, 1993, we moved to this location that had been run by the Hendrix family. We had never expanded before and we didn’t know what we were getting into but in our first week of association here we met some people there that are still there and they’re very dear to our heart. We’re thankful to have all of you because if we didn’t have the confidence in this location we wouldn’t be building a new building,” Lynn Stoller said.
“We couldn’t have been more ecstatic when you purchased this piece of property and we were a lot more ecstatic that you’re building on this piece of property. The farm implement is important for the rural area and we are rural America,” said Herscher Mayor Ray Schneider.
Customers, Community Benefits
Clark Stoller told AgriNews of the multiple benefits this new facility will have for customers and the community.
“By having larger doors, larger storage area, a more efficient shop, more up-to-date equipment, we’ll be able to turn the repair equipment around more quickly for the farmers to get them back into the field,” he said.
“We’ll have a storage shed onsite where combines and tractors can be brought in to store over winter and that will allows us to do inspections and/or repair on those machines during the winter and the customers don’t have to worry about bringing that machine in on salty roads.”
The new facility is located across the street from Herscher High School.
“I think that reinforces into any educational facility that this is a rural community and we have businesses like us and there’s employment opportunities like us and perhaps some of the students will have a vision that they can someday be involved in the farm equipment industry,” Stoller said.
“It’s a stable industry. It’s been here since Cyrus McCormick invented the reaper and mechanization has continued to improve and now electronics, hydraulics and the GPS ability for farmers to be able to drive without using their steering wheel to be able to have perfect guidance, those are all things that need the next generation to service them and that’s opportunities for all young people.”
The Stoller company has been in business in central Illinois for 85 years, and the family and employees have experienced firsthand the rapid technological advancements in the implement industry.
Clark Stoller said the first 12 sales his father, Clarence, had each involved the trade-in of a team of horses.
“You had to keep a pasture close to the store. Now we’re to the point where we’re not even using a steering wheel. We’re having guidance from a satellite and very, very advanced,” he said.
“We have combines that will reset themselves when you go from one crop to the other. Now you just push a button and it will set itself. We have the quick-attach heads and the folding heads and the transportability of today’s machinery is very advanced.
“For 85 years, we’ve been doing this and I’m thankful to my dad and his brothers who had the foresight to realize that people were going to do away with their horses and they were going to invest in tractors and self-propelled combines. So, they began the business and handed it off to us in the 1970s, and we’re thankful we’ve been able to carry on.”
“Clark, Lynn and family and workers on behalf of Case IH we couldn’t be more proud to be a brand that you represent for us. You talk about 85 years, 85 years with a family operation is just unheard of today and its success is the people,” said Bradley Baer, Case IH sales manager.
“You hear that a lot about people make the difference. You’re looking at them right here today, and on behalf of Case, we’re thankful for you guys and your efforts and the opportunities you give Case IH and our products.”