An auction will be held Dec. 20 to sell the property, structures and equipment of a 100-year-old Collinsville feed company that closed last month.
Family members who were operating McClaskey Feed Co. before the closure have formed a group that plans to bid on the business and try to regain control, said David Nelson, an employee for 26 years and nephew of co-owner Danny McClaskey.
“We know that it’s profitable, and we’ve done it most of our lives,” he said. “That’s what we know.”
The business was forced to close Nov. 2 because of a complicated divorce and Chapter 7 bankruptcy involving Danny McClaskey and his wife, Caryl, family members said. It reopened Nov. 17, but only on Mondays and Thursdays.
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“I got the (U.S. Bankruptcy Court) to approve operating the business on a limited basis,” said Don Sampson, the court-appointed trustee. “They had a number of customers wanting to buy their product.”
McClaskey is on Fairmont Avenue, next to Fairmount Park racetrack. It mills grain and mixes corn, oats, barley, molasses and other ingredients into horse feed. The business has been in Danny McClaskey’s family since 1917.
The reopening was good news for Tom and Judy Dorris, of West Frankfort, who breed, foal, train and race thoroughbred horses. They have more than 100 head, requiring nine tons of feed every 10 days.
“I love (McClaskey’s) feed,” said Judy Dorris, 66. “Our horses look good. They’re doing 100 percent. And when your horses are doing good, you don’t want to change feed.”
Judy Dorris likes the fact that McClaskey only makes horse feed, avoiding contamination problems from cattle or pig feed that can cause sickness.
We know that it’s profitable, and we’ve done it most of our lives. That’s what we know.
David Nelson on staying in the feed business
The property at 3420 Fairmont Ave. is divided into two tracts. One is 12 acres of farmland, and the other is eight acres with structures related to the feed business.
“(The farmland is) in agricultural use, but it doesn’t have to stay that way,” said auctioneer Virgil Straeter, of Auction Associates in Highland, who is handling the sale. “It could be of interest to developers. It’s only two minutes from the interstate.”
The auction begins at 9 a.m. Dec. 20 at the site. Straeter will accept sealed bids for the tracts separately and combined and conduct a live auction for a forklift, bobcat, trucks and other equipment.
Nelson thinks the family group has a good chance of regaining control of the feed company, but he expects other bidders at the auction.
“We’ve heard some rumblings,” he said. “There’s quite a bit of farmland and grain storage, and (grain storage is) in high demand. That could bring in some large farmers who need it but don’t necessarily want to use it as a production facility.”
The roots of McClaskey go back to 1917, when Ferdinand Keller, Danny McClaskey’s grandfather, began milling grain, mixing horse feed and selling it in Collinsville.
Keller Feed Store passed to Danny McClaskey’s mother, Hilda (Keller) McClaskey, and her husband, John, who renamed it McClaskey Feed Co. in 1954.
“I used to walk from Collinsville High School to 429 Vandalia and mix horse feed for my dad,” Danny McClaskey said last month. “The only other job I ever had was at Burger Chef when I was in high school.”
Hilda and John McClaskey bought the rural property on Fairmont Avenue in 1975 and moved the business next to Fairmount Park racetrack, where many of its customers are based.