Dick and Azelia Severs, founders
For over 45 years Farm King has been a mainstay for the agriculture community in Macomb and throughout West Central Illinois and Eastern Iowa. Dick and Azelia Severs opened the original Farm King store in Macomb in 1959. The Severs had relocated to Macomb after leaving their 1,600 square foot Western Auto store in Holdridge, NE.
The initial Farm King store was a 6,000 sq. ft. building located at 334 N. Randolph Street. That building is now gone, and the lot is used as a parking lot for Digger’s College City Bowl.
In 1965, the Macomb store moved to its current location on East Jackson in Macomb. Since the original store opened in Macomb, the corporation has opened five other stores and purchased another building to be used as a corporate office and distribution center. The Severs family opened their second store, in Monmouth, in 1962.
As success continued for the firm the Canton Farm King was opened in 1972. Retail growth spawned the creation of stores in Galesburg and Kewanee in 1974 and 1982 respectively. The only store outside of Illinois was opened in 1989 and is in West Burlington, Iowa.
As Farm King grew, so did its needs in purchasing, accounting, payroll and inventory management. The corporate office and distribution center, opened in 1980, houses the company’s buying offices, data processing and advertising department, as well as its 72,000 sq. ft. warehouse facility.
The retail locations have seen significant improvement over the years. The Macomb store has included five additions more than tripling the original square footage. Monmouth has also tripled its size with the latest addition being completed in 2002. Canton’s most recent expansion came in 1999, doubling the original store size.
Galesburg has doubled in size from the original 1974 building with the latest addition in 1994. The newest addition in Kewanee came in 1996 with the store tripling the original size.
Farm King continues to upgrade and enhance its computer management systems, the stores operate with state-of-the-art price scanning, sophisticated inventory tracking systems and central distribution, which includes a fleet of tractor-trailers. These can often be seen with the distinctive Farm King, ear of corn logo. Currently, Farm King employs 390 people total in all locations. A significant employer in Macomb, Farm King has 26 People in the corporate office, 26 in the distribution center and 58 at the retail store.
No description of Farm King would be complete without pointing out the charitable contributions they have made over the years. Children and community have always been important to the Farm King Corporation. The company actively supports community service projects in each market area. Farm King supports book programs, literacy programs, the Kid Care ID Program, safety programs and drug education.
The impact of Farm King’s benevolence has been felt greatest in Macomb. The Severs purchased the former Logan School building from the Macomb School District and presented it as a gift to the YMCA of McDonough County, which is currently using it as a childcare center.
In addition, the company is a corporate sponsor of the FFA scholarship program and provides a $1,000 scholarship each year to a regional individual pursuing a degree in agriculture.
The company continues to be family owned and operated with the couple’s three sons, Rick, Randall and Brad as Vice Presidents in the management of what has become a six store corporation proud to be based in Macomb.