Metro-East News

Historic family feed company closes in Collinsville — for now

McClasky Feed Co. is closed -- for now

Co-owner Danny McClaskey describes the history of his family's 100-year-old business in Collinsville. The company has closed because of a complicated divorce and Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
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Co-owner Danny McClaskey describes the history of his family's 100-year-old business in Collinsville. The company has closed because of a complicated divorce and Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

A prominent Collinsville family has closed McClaskey Feed Co. after 100 years in business, but one of the owners hopes a court-appointed trustee will allow it to reopen.

The company operated on Fairmont Avenue, next to Fairmount Park race track, and provided horse feed to customers throughout the region.

“We’ve tried to get the word out and let people know what’s going on,” said David Nelson, 55, an employee for 26 years and nephew of co-owner Danny McClaskey.

The forced closure resulted from a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and divorce proceedings involving Danny McClaskey and his wife, Caryl, family members said Wednesday.

The feed company closed Thursday, Nov. 2, the same day bankruptcy papers were filed in federal court.

Nelson, Danny McClaskey and McClaskey’s daughter, Kelly Oliver, who also works for the company, said they hope a court-appointed trustee will allow them to buy back the business.

“It could reopen on a limited basis,” Nelson said. “We’ll know more Friday.”

The company milled grain and mixed corn, oats, barley, molasses and other ingredients into horse feed. It didn’t produce other livestock feed, avoiding contamination problems that can cause sickness.

“We’re a drug-free facility,” said Danny McClaskey, 69. “We do not have any animal medications in our feed.”

McClaskey sign
McClaskey Feed Co. in rural Collinsville has roots going back to 1917, when Ferninand Keller began milling and selling grain for animal feed. Teri Maddox tmaddox@bnd.com

Kelly Staley was a customer for 27 years. She operates Gateway Stables and Riding Academy in Pontoon Beach and serves as bookkeeper at Fairmount Park.

Staley bought about a ton of feed each month for the seven horses she owns and five horses she boards. She called the company’s closure “the end of an era.”

“They were nice enough to give customers warning,” she said. “They’re nice folks. We’re suffering with them.”

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. “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 company.

In recent years, hard times at Fairmount Park have affected the feed company’s business because customers included many racehorse owners, Danny McClaskey said.

He’s particularly unhappy with the Illinois General Assembly’s repeated refusals to allow the race track to install video gaming machines as an additional revenue source.

Staley shares his view. “We used to run 174 days a year, and now we’re down to 41,” she said.

Teri Maddox: 618-239-2473, @BNDwriter

Fairmount Park president, Brian Zander, talks about the need for anew revenue stream.

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