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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Gallatin County Tin and Hardware back in business

  • The Drone brothers, Tom, Steve and Dave own and operate the Gallatin County Tin and Hardware store in Ridgway.
    Following the Leap Day Tornado, damage to the store kept it closed for nearly a year as reconstruction progressed.
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  • The Drone brothers, Tom, Steve and Dave own and operate the Gallatin County Tin and Hardware store in Ridgway.
    Following the Leap Day Tornado, damage to the store kept it closed for nearly a year as reconstruction progressed.
    Insurance covered the loss of buildings and equipment but nothing covered all the lost business.
    The company opened its doors again on April 10.
    Tom Drone estimates they lost more than $1 million in sales while they were shut down.
    When they started their store in 1965 corn yields were 84 bushels per acre in Gallatin County. In 2011 the yield per acre was 144.5 bushels according to Glenn Strasburg of the United States Department of Agriculture.
    The art and science of U.S. agriculture has come a long way in 48 years and the Drone brothers have supplied some of the hardware to make it happen.
    They are a Tru Value store and they stock over 21,000 items in the hardware building of their business. But in addition to basic hardware they sell agricultural equipment to help the farmers store their grain. The three most important items in this category are grain bins, grain augers and grain dryers. The augers help move the corn quickly into the bins and the bins protect the grain from the weather.
    The third major product is a drying machine that dries the corn and enables the farmers to get maximum prices for their grain.
    The store functions as a dealer for 10 product lines and has customers from Mt. Vernon to Union County, Ky. In the east their reach is to Mt. Vernon, Ind.
    It is a big operation for the village of Ridgway.
    "The store is very important to us," said Ridgway mayor Becky Mitchell. "The village does not have a lot of businesses. The Drone boys are excellent supporters of local fundraisers."
    Tom Drone handles the retail hardware store, Steve Drone heads up the grain storage and electrical sales and Dave Drone manages heating and air conditioning sale for residential installation.

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