Source: DecaturDaily.com

A farm equipment business and other merchants soon could be on land where an iconic antebellum home once stood.

Hopkinsville, Ky.-based H&R Agri-Power has purchased 15 acres on U.S. 31 in Tanner and is constructing a roughly 26,000-square-foot business.

H&R likely will merge with two businesses, according to owners and employees of McCutcheon Tractor in Tanner and Athens Farm & Turf.

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McCutcheon Tractor was heavily damaged in April’s tornadoes but continued to conduct business. Its entire operation will move to the new H&R location, to be called South Central H&R Agri-Power.

“The damage had a good bit to do with the move,” McCutcheon Tractor owner James McCutcheon said. “But the change in the market has been the biggest thing.

“Mom and pop stores are becoming few and far between, and you’re seeing this kind of thing more and more. A series of dealers will merge to form a sort of corporation, to share some exposure.”

Athens Farm & Turf probably won’t move its entire operation like McCutcheon, but H&R will take over some operations, and the two locations will share some personnel, according to Athens Farm & Turf parts and equipment salesman Lance Taylor.

“(Athens Farm & Turf) is essentially going to be a division of H&R,” Taylor said.

Both H&R Agri-power and McCutcheon specialize in selling Case IH Agriculture brand farming equipment.

Athens Farm & Turf sells Exmark lawnmowers, and Taylor said the new location likely will sell both Case IH and Exmark brand machines.

Construction on the business already has begun, and will stand on the former site of Hudson Antiques and Auction, an antebellum home that was severely damaged by a fire caused by a lightning strike in 2008.

Taylor said H&R was still waiting on a few state permits before it can complete ground and interior work.

“It’s going to be a big presence in Limestone and in Morgan,” County Commissioner Bill Latimer said.

“It’s close enough to Morgan County to have an impact there.”

McCutcehon said he anticipates the business opening around the beginning of February.

H&R Agri-Power was founded in 1959 as H&R Implement Co. Inc.

It took on the Agri-Power name in 1993.

The company has eight other stores across the Southeast. The Tanner location will be its first Alabama store.