History of Casey's Garden Shop

There has been a Casey's on the corner of North Main and Kelsey streets in Bloomington, Illinois for 60 years. Although changing times have altered the focus of the business, it is still owned and operated by the family of the founder Elden "Casey" Casebeer; Ray and Alice Jayne Casebeer Lartz and their son, Casey Lartz..

Casey's Market Basket : Rt 66

Casey's Garden Shop & Florist occupies buildings that housed part of the old Casey's Market Basket. Casebeer, who had come to Bloomington representing Swift & Co. during World War II purchased a fruit stand at that corner in 1949 and developed a grocery store. He had owned a grocery store in Horton, Kansas before moving his young family to Bloomington.

Mr. Casebeer : Garden Center

After operating a number of years as a neighborhood grocery store, Mr. Casebeer could see a change from the ma and pa grocery store to the big chains and began to specialize in produce. Among the items which Casey's became known for and still is today were their beautiful fruit baskets.

The emphasis at Casey's has always been on service to the customer. Casey's Market Basket was open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day long before other larger grocery stores became 24-hour.

Always ready to try new things, Mr. Casebeer had a soft-serve ice cream machine before any place else but the Dairy Queen. The grocer was also the first home of "Spudnuts", known now as Denny's Donuts.

Mr. Casebeer added a garden shop in 1962, just across the parking lot from the store. It was also the year that his son-in-law, Ray Lartz joined the family owned business. In 1968 Mr. Casebeer sold the grocery end of his business and the Garden Shop went 'year round. Elden Casebeer passed away in 1972, but not before he saw the beginnings of a new wave of customer interest...houseplants. The department has grown since then to include such things as bonsai, orchids, commercial installations and most recently, watergardening.

Casey's Delivery Truck

In the tradition of it's founder, Casey's Garden Shop and Florist is always looking for new trends that will interest customers. Artificial flower sales relegated mainly to Memorial Day have given way to a full service floral department specializing in weddings and custom designs. Casey's became an FTD florist in 1991. Casey's was inducted into the Route 66 Hall of Fame of Illinois on June 12, 1999. The Route 66 Association of Illinois recognizes "those people and places along Route 66 whose blend of hardy individualism and grassroots community spirit gave the road such special character."

You can read the recent article in Pastelle Magazine "Casey's Garden Shop: Kickin' it on Route 66 for 66 Years!" here.

Casey Lartz, Mr. Casebeers grandson and namesake, sums up the mission of Casey's Garden Shop & Florist as this,"we strive to maintain a fun business atmosphere for both workers and shoppers, offering the best quality goods and services at a fair price, constantly monitoring the changes in the marketplace with the goal of identifyling customers needs and satisfying them."
Yes, Mr. Casebeer would be proud . . .