I never blog about where I work, but on my way to work every day I pass Kelly Seed & Hardware, which I believe is one of Peoria’s oldest family run businesses. I always think as I pass it, “I should really stop in there and do a post from there one of these days.” Well today is that day—to the MBIP Mobile!
The bad news is we got some snow the other day. The good news is...well, there is no good news, snow sucks monkey lungs on toast!
Here we are at Kelly Seed & Hardware in beautiful downtown Peoria. The store has been on this corner for as long as I can remember. Which isn’t really saying much, I can’t really remember last night!
Let’s go in and see what’s happening at Kelly Seed & Hardware on this winter afternoon.
Wow, lots of stuff inside of this shop! There’s a couple of people down there, let’s go say hi.
Hi! This is Steve and Nancy who are second generation family owners of Kelly Seed. Kelly Seed was originally owned by W.B. Kelly who opened up for business in the early 1900’s. Nancy and Steve’s dad, Harold Church worked for Mr. Kelly and took over the business in the ‘50’s. It’s been owned by the Church family ever since and Nancy and Steve are the second generation owners. There is a third generation and we’ll meet one of them in a little bit. But for now let's just keep moving along.
Here’s a picture of the original owner, W. B. Kelly, looking dapper!
Nancy showed me some vintage photos of the store from this photo album.
Nancy told me that this is the block where the Caterpillar Visitor's Center and the Riverfront Museum is at now. Mr. Quick was on the corner of the block...
And Kelly's Seed was down the same block here. Nancy said they were in two locations before...
They moved into the current location back in March of 1964. I was six-years-old at the time and living in Louisville, Kentucky and had no idea that fifty years later I'd be back here taking pictures. But here I am, so what are you going to do?
When we were done looking at the pictures we turned around and there was Dave Southey delivering the mail! We saw him last at Double A's! Good to see him again, and maybe someday I'll see his brother Tim and his sister-in-law Mary Kay again!
Nancy told me that these cabinets are from the original store. I love the apothecary jars above them.
There's so much in the store to look at, I can't possibly document all of it in one post, you just need to go down and see it for yourself. Here's some ornamental lawn sculptures.
There's a large selection of knives in here, cutting edge stuff. Ouch!
They have all kinds of hardware and tools in here too for all of your gardening requirements and beyond.
Look at the shiny, adhesive gold foil letters over here...
MBIP! It's like they knew we were coming over!
There's more stuff in here than you can imagine, but the main focus is on seed in here and they have in-house grass seed in bags...
There's more seeds in these bins over here...
And there's racks of seeds in little pouches in these racks.
I told you earlier that there was a third generation here in the store and to prove I'm not a liar here's Nancy's son Nick, who told me he's been working here his whole life! It also turns out that Nick's cousin's are none other than Tony and Dan Agatucci who were featured on yesterday's blog! Okay, you know what we need to do here now!
Nick took me upstairs to show me the warehouse of seeds up there.
Wow, it's huge up here and there's stacks of seeds all over the place.
Nick said that this contraption has been making seeds since 1940 and still operates at full capacity.
And from the looks of the inventory, it never takes a break!
Meanwhile back at the front counter, Nancy rang up my purchases.
I got a little porcelain Koala Bear and these seeds which I'll try and plant this spring. Thanks to Nancy, Steve and Nick for a fun time at Kelly Seed & Hardware and we'll see you all tomorrow!
Kelly Seed & Hardware
202 Hamilton Blvd.