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You may have noticed the for-sale sign in front of one of Shelby County’s venerable farm equipment businesses.
Moore’s Tractor, which has been operating on U.S. 60 west of Shelbyville for the past 53 years, has closed, and the property is in the process of being sold.
Bill Moore, the man who founded the business and operated it with his family, said he decided last year to close down and put the property up for sale.
The door is chained, and only one tractor and some old spare equipment in the back remain on the 2.9-acre lot that formerly was surrounded by homes and farms but now is sitting among the campus of the new Collins High School and the plat for the new Catalpagreen development.
Moore said those new entities didn’t prompt him to sell, but they may have improved the value of his property.
He will turn 80 this year, and he said there were several reasons that led to the closing, mainly dealing with tractor companies.
“It was a lot of things,” he said. “We had a heck of a business. But the big tractor company Agco [formerly Allis Chalmer] went broke in ’83. We had to pick up Hesston and run that until they decided they wouldn’t be here anymore because they [the tractors] were made in Italy.”
When the Moores opened in 1957, their primary tractor was Allis Chalmer, which featured big and powerful tractors that built a strong market segment in the county.
Moore and partners Buddy Holdstrasser and Robert Hardin bought .9 of an acre from Eddie Hall in what had been a ham business, a Quonset-type building that they renovated and eventually replaced. Then they purchased an adjacent 2 acres from Nick Tichenor.
Shelby County long has had a long history of farm equipment dealers that have come and gone as companies merged and some closed entirely. A check of the phonebook shows seven such businesses still listed.
“Those big companies couldn’t get along and wouldn’t get along,” Moore said.
He said he and his sons Allen, Glenn and Mark had sold all the parts they had and had moved out most of the equipment.
“We’ve sold most of that,” he said. “We’re just gathering up scraps.”
Keith Stratton of Re/Max Performance Realty is the listing agent for the property, and he said he has had some feelers.
Moore and his wife of 60 years, Luena, raised seven kids in all at their 12 acres on Joyes Station Road, and now they have 17 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. They still attend Burks Branch Baptist Church.
And the dealership became part of their lives.
“I’ve lost a lot of tears and sleep,” Moore said, “but you come to a time in life that things need to change.”