Stock + Field

Photo by Carla Waters

Photo by Carla Waters

Stock + Field will be closing all 25 of its stores, including the one in Watseka.

A company with a rich Watseka history will be closing in the next couple of months and has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Stock + Field owner and CEO issued a statement Jan. 10 on the company’s website.

“After more than 55 years, Stock + Field (formerly known as Big R Stores) is closing its doors at all 25 locations,” reads the statement from Matthew F. Whebbe, chairman and CEO. “There have been many challenges in 2020, and Stock + Field was not immune to them. S+F has partnered with providers of new merchandise and will be selling items as massive discounts in the coming weeks. Even (and especially) in a pandemic — we believe the customer should be able to get some wins.

“We’d like to thank our fantastic employees, our loyal customers, and especially the rural communities we partnered with for so many years,” Whebbe goes on to say. “We hope to reopen stores at some point in the future, but for now, please come in, say hello to your favorite employee, and enjoy the ridiculously low prices. This won’t last for long.”

The website then directors people to

That link shows information about the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, 21-30037, filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, St. Paul, Minnesota.

Tea Olive I, LLC d/b/a Stock + Field, filed for bankruptcy reorganization Jan. 10.

Whebbe purchased Big R in 2018, later changing the name to Stock + Field. The company was started in 1964 by Bill and Pat Crabtree in Watseka. At that time the company was growing, with 23 stores in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio, and 1,100 employees.

Whebbe grew up in St. Paul and then “moved around the country”, he told the Times-Republic in 2018. He said his first introduction to Big R was when he was at Notre Dame studying for his MBA and there was a store nearby.

The first day of the hearings for the bankruptcy is Jan. 13.

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