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WATSEKA — A company with stores in Danville, Gibson City and Watseka has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will be closing all its locations in the next couple months.

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

Whebbe thanked employees and customers and said the company hopes to reopen stores “at some point in the future” and urged people to come to the stores to take advantage of the discount prices.

“This won’t last for long,” he said.

A link on the company’s website 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 bought Big R in 2018, later changing the name to Stock and Field. It 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, Minn., and then “moved around the country,” he told the Watseka 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 company’s bankruptcy hearings is set for today.

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