The Orscheln Farm & Home in Broken Bow has grown. They have added 6,000 square feet to the sales floor and 3,000 square feet in storage.
The new addition has been in the works for a very long time, for at least 10 years in long-range business plan of store manager Rod Sonnichsen. He talks of the expansion with exuberance.
There will be additions to the product lines, from farm and fencing, to automotive and women’s clothing.
There are now new handicap accessible bathrooms, new offices and a breakroom. With the new electrical work came a new computer system, new phone system and new security.
The aisles have been expanded for customer convenience and new shopping carts put in place.
With the growth from 13,000 to 19,000 square feet of retail area the store has added a new line of Gallagher Fencing, by request said Sonnichsen. It is a premium line folks have been asking for.
There will be more spring sprayer sets, and an expanded automotive assessory product line. Their feed line for pets and for livestock is expanding.
The clothing line will be expanded this fall. it has to be ordered a year out, with a special emphasis on women’s western wear.
They added eight people in February to help with the project.
“We’re getting great comments, and burning the candle on both ends,” he said. “Springtime is very busy, so adding a remodel and it’s gotten kind of crazy around here.”
He plans to add one full time and two part time employees to his permanent staff of 14, and “as we go on hopefully I’ll need more people.”
They initially expected to have the addition finished by March 22, but they didn’t start to move product in until nearly the expected due date.
The design work was completed by Empire Construction, contracted through the corporate office, but all of the sub contract work, Sonnichsen said proudly, was completed locally, here at home.
The building was nearly complete before anyone knew it was back there, he said.
Sonnichsen takes pride in the fact that Orschelns selected Broken Bow as one of four expansions for Nebraska.
“I’ve been actively campaigning for the last three years, but I’ve been thinking about it for the last 10,,” Sonnichsen said. It took two years to demonstrate the potential.
“We had the land, we had the potential,” he said. “I’m really, really glad they picked Broken Bow as one of those spots. I feel very, very fortunate.”
He spoke of the importance of shopping at home.
“Especially with the price of gas, you see more and more people looking local first. Expanding the hours means it will be easier to shop in Broken Bow.”
With Orschelns, stock is ordered through a perpetual inventory system six weeks in advance, and ‘the box’ as Sonnichsen described, had become too small. So with the added space in the showroom, they added storage space, and an improved loading dock. He is as excited about the improvements behind the scenes as he is in the retail space.
A grand opening is planned for May 13, 14 and 15, with family activities and storewide sales. The ribbon cutting will be at 10 a.m. Friday.
Friday and Saturday there will be an antique tractor show, and demonstrations on a ‘hit and miss’ 6 horse-power engine. Saturday, Susy and Sally (a mule team) will be giving rides in the afternoon.
Sunday will feature a petting zoo, a ‘how to harness’ demonstration and rides from a pair of Belgium horses from Buffalo Creek and the Junior Pedal Pullers.
Orschelns came to Broken Bow in 2002, falling in the footsteps of Wheelers, Country General and Central Tractor Supply. The store was closed for four months during the transition from Tractor Supply to Orscheln.
Sonnichsen has been in Broken Bow since 1994.
“I’ve put in a lawn, so I’m here for the stay,” he said. “And I am feeling so very, very lucky to be where I am.”