One step onto the creaky wood floor of this store and you will be taken back into time. deBuhr’s Feed & Seed located at 2001 Western Ave has been serving my community for nearly one hundred and four years (that’s 104 YEARS!). It has been passed down from generation to generation. The current owner and my friend, Bernie deBuhr loves to tell the story about his ancestor’s journey to our great land. Henry deBuhr, Bernie’s great grandfather, came to the US from Germany with nothing more than a wicker basket to hold his possessions.
Henry arrived in Mattoon, IL and became the farm manager of the Mattoon Odd Fellows and Old Folks Home. It was March 1st of 1914 that he opened deBuhr’s Seed & Feed. He and his wife, Marie Catherine, made the upstairs of their new business their home. They had two children, Herman and Folene.
deBuhrs’ biggest sellers at the time was produce, feed, and full-sized chickens. At the end of every week the ladies would come into the store to pick out the best chicken to dress for the weekend.
Passing his business to the next generation, it was the late 1920’s that Herman took possession of the business. With his passing, his son, Bernard took over in 1957. It was 1999 that his junior, Bernie took the reins.
Bernie Jr. is a natural at making his customers feel more like family. No matter how busy he is he always asks how you are, what you’re up to, or what’s new in your life. “We provide service and products at good prices, and treat people nicely. Our customers can be confident in our products and service.”
Another little known service Bernie provides is more for the other businesses in town. He loves to recommend his customers to support Villa Pizza, House Brothers, Shore’s Jewelry, Jack & Bill’s, D to Z, Dairy Queen, and many others. He has told me they all have long histories in our town.
Bernie enjoys telling this story; back in 1993 he was advised to use a mixture of linseed and turpentine to preserve the old wood floors. It never cured so it was like walking on super glue. The burlap feed bags were stuck to the floor, it was a big mess. You can still see remnants of it in low traffic areas.
From bird feeders to horse feed and specialty dog and cat foods and toys deBuhr’s has your pets covered. They also feature some incredible BBQ sauces and some of the hottest hot sauces on the planet like; Vicious Viper, Smokin’ Mary, and Beware! to name a few. Adjacent to their store is a greenhouse. In early spring, they have a wonderful variety of gardening plants and flowers.
deBuhr’s is a staple at the Celebrate Downtown festivities where I usually set up a small photobooth. I photograph children or costume-clad fur pets. There always happens to be a special Disney character available for photos too.
Community involvement, family-like customer service, competitive prices, and a trip down memory lane, who could ask for more?
Melissa M. Harden
deBuhr’s Feed & Seed
2001 Western Ave,
Mattoon, IL 61938
7:30am to 5:30pm Sat. 7:30 to 4pm
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