Orscheln Farm and Home was founded in 1946 in Moberly, Missouri by William Orscheln. Starting as a single hardware store, Orscheln recognized the community’s need for a locally-owned retailer that could supply farmers, ranchers and homeowners with all the tools, equipment and supplies needed to maintain their livelihoods and properties.
Over the next few decades, Orscheln expanded cautiously by opening additional locations across northern Missouri and into Kansas in the 1960s and 70s. William’s sons Dick and Tom took over operations and spearheaded the company’s most rapid growth phase. By the 1990s, Orscheln was a leading Midwestern farm supplier with over 50 stores across Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa.
Acquisition by Tractor Supply Company
In 1997, Orscheln Farm and Home was acquired by Nashville, Tennessee based Tractor Supply Company. At the time, Tractor Supply was a $1 billion publicly traded company focused on serving the lifestyle needs of recreational farmers and ranchers. The acquisition brought Orscheln’s strong Midwest presence into Tractor Supply’s fold, significantly expanding their regional coverage.
Tractor Supply Co. was founded in 1938 and operates over 1,000 stores across 49 states under the Tractor Supply banner. The company fills a niche as a one-stop shop for livestock and pet products, tools, hardware, clothing and more geared towards hobby farmers, pet owners, tradesmen and rural lifestyle enthusiasts.
Orscheln Farm and Home continues to operate as its own subsidiary brand even after 25 years under Tractor Supply ownership. Both companies share strategic distribution networks and the scale to offer competitive pricing on national brands. However, Orscheln stores cater more squarely towards productive, large-scale agriculture operations than the recreational market served by generic Tractor Supply locations.
Product Mix and In-Store Experience
Today, Orscheln Farm and Home operates over 150 retail stores across eight Midwest states- Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. At 20,000-50,000 square feet depending on location, stores offer a wide variety of products organized into familiar departments.
Customers will find tools, hardware, workwear and farm equipment alongside supplies for pet care, yard maintenance, home improvement and more. Nationally-recognized brands like Milwaukee, DeWalt, Carhartt and Kubota are stocked alongside Orscheln’s own quality Farm Rite, Performance and Ozark Trail-branded alternatives.
Knowledgeable staff partners aim to get to know customers on an individual basis to best assist with any need. From repairs to specialized product locating services, personalized customer service remains highly valued. Regular store remodels and changes to layouts maximize functionality while preserving the farm store feeling that customers know and trust.
Online and Delivery Options
In addition to in-store shopping, Orscheln.com offers expanded access to over 125,000 products. Popular items are stocked for pickup in as little as 3 hours. Less common inventory can be sourced through Product Locating services and shipped directly.
New direct delivery programs have also been introduced. Customers scheduling bulk fertilizer, seed or feed deliveries via the website have those items trucked right to their farms or properties. Special orders get drop-shipped directly instead of requiring in-person exchanges.
These enhanced e-commerce capabilities complement physical store networks to better serve customers spread across wide rural geographical areas, whether they prefer online or in-person shopping experiences. Efforts like these have helped Orscheln evolve with changing agricultural patterns over decades in business under Tractor Supply ownership.
Anchoring Rural Communities
Beyond commerce, Orscheln stores play active community roles as major employers and sponsors in their small-town trade areas. Deeper partnerships have formed with local FFA and 4H groups. Stores participate in fundraisers and host agricultural educational events.
This strong local presence remains vital as farm operations consolidate and populations decentralize. It keeps Orscheln relevant to next generation farmers while providing essential goods and services to the wider rural lifestyle customer base as towns evolve. Both privately-owned and Tractor Supply-owned periods have seen Orscheln prioritize its foundational small-town roots.
Outlook and Strategic Direction
Looking ahead, Tractor Supply expects to continue expanding both physical store and online reach for the Orscheln brand name, targeting trade areas not yet populated by a home state farm supplier. International trade exposure from farm exports spurs investment in broadening manufacturing and supplier partnerships as well.
As climate patterns change, innovative product categories like sustainable irrigation solutions and alternative energy gain traction. Strategic private label brand extensions complement mass merchants, while loyalty programs and commercial accounts cater to production agriculture.
Store Layout and Merchandise Mix
Orscheln stores typically have a similar layout with departments organized by category. The front of the store often features impulse buy items like clothing, pet food and small tools. In the back you’ll find larger equipment, bulk feeds, fertilizer and lumber/fencing materials.
The clothing department is much larger than a typical farm supply store, offering work boots, Carhartt apparel, flame resistant attire for welders and more. This draws in customers shopping for casual wear as well.
Known for great pricing on national brands, Orscheln also devotes significant floor space to store brand alternatives like Ozark Trail tools, Eagle Rider riding lawn mowers and Farm Rite protective equipment.
Catalog and Special-Order Services
Orscheln publishes a thick paper catalog featuring thousands more items. This catalog plays a big role in the store’s history.
Most stores have special order departments where experts can source anything from tractor attachments to industrial equipment. Custom fence-building or lumber cutting is also offered.
Stores regularly sponsor local high school FFA/4H teams and provide prize support for competitions in livestock showing, planting and equipment operation.
Employment remains a major economic driver even for smaller towns. Stores may employ 30-50 people depending on size to serve customers year-round.
Managers get involved in chambers of commerce and local business groups to support initiatives around agriculture, manufacturing and small business.
In all, over 75 years after starting as a roadside hardware shop, Orscheln Farm and Home remains committed to fulfilling their original small-town mission – bringing necessities to those who work the land and empowering their rural communities to thrive. Ongoing ownership by industry leader Tractor Supply equips Orscheln with the scale to compete anywhere on the agricultural supply landscape far into the future.