Going Local: A Tradition Continues at A.B. Hatchery
“I always wanted to own my own garden center,” said Bill Inks, the new owner of A. B. Hatchery in Bloomington. In early March, Bill bought the business from Jeff and Lynn McCain, who owned & operated the business since 1978. A.B. Hatchery started as a chick hatching business in the early 1940’s and Homer “Mike” McCain (Jeff and Lynn’s father) started working there in 1953 and became a partner in 1961.
“Last summer I told Jeff and Lynn if they were ever thinking of selling to call me. A couple of weeks later I got a phone call,” said Bill. Bill, a graduate of Illinois State University in Horticulture and Agribusiness, has solid experience as he previously worked at Casey’s Garden Shop and Walmart. He has lived in Bloomington- Normal for 12 years.
Bill lives in the neighborhood as he & wife live in Dimmitt’s Grove and have a three-year-old daughter. “We have many loyal customers from Dimmitt’s Grove and Founder’s Grove” added Bill. Although A. B. Hatchery no longer sells chicks; they offer their customers a wide selection of products. Their product line ranges from pet-related-items, wildlife and livestock feed, lawn and gardening plants and supplies and even unique greeting cards.
The business prides itself with their expertise within the industry and the commitment to personal service. “If people have questions, they ask us and we’ll find the answer” added Bill. “I have worked for a large corporation and a small business and know how important customer service is.”
A.B. Hatchery sells a considerable amount of pet and animal supplies and when asked what his most unique product is Bill answered, “We sell monkey or primate food to the Miller Park Zoo." The company also sells quite a bit of Christmas decorations and trees during the holiday season.
“I am making the business more visible in the social media area," added Bill. A revised website is in the works and the company has a presence on Instagram and Facebook now. “Gardening is our country’s favorite hobby, and birding is number two. We are active in both”, said Bill.
A.B. Hatchery is open 8 am – 7 pm Monday to Friday and Saturdays 8-5. During the busy spring season, they are open Sundays 11- 5. For more information, visit their website www.abhatcherygarden.com