America's Best Shops: Reed Brothers

Two Spaces in One

Reed Brothers Farms Shop (Progressive Farmer image by Mary Ann Carter)

A visitor might consult his phone's map app more than once as he winds his way past residential homes and small businesses in search of the brown and red shop serving Reed Brothers Farms. In fact, the handsome Morton building -- topped with five cupolas -- is surrounded by homes, the result of suburbia expanding past and around the well-designed space built for the needs of the farm.

The shop remains central to the 2,000-acre corn and soybean farm, itself associated with the KOVA Agribusiness team, at Greensburg, Indiana. KOVA is a family-run partnership conducting on-farm research and offering finance and fertility services. It also includes a terminal chemical storage business. The company is 85 years old and into its fourth generation.

"This was a huge upgrade for us," says Richard Reed, one of the business's family owners. "This building is central to everything. I'm happy with everything, although we could have made it bigger." The family had previously added 20 feet to the plan before it was built. Space for expansion was left around the shop.


There are many structural and functional features of note in this building. But, what stands out is the post and beam pavilion built inside the shop, complete with a peaked metal roof and a wall of rough-sawn pine. Reed explains that in addition to the maintenance and fabrication functions of the building, this one also has a public function. The pavilion lends an outdoor, rustic appeal to client events. It features a wood-burning stove and an assortment of cast-iron pots and bans. Bathrooms for men and women are nearby.

The structure is open on three sides and does not noticeably intrude on the work areas of the building.

The shop itself has two main functions: The largest side, 66 x 120 feet, is set up to service farming equipment. The space is accessed by a 30- x 16-foot overhead door and has an 18-foot ceiling.

The other portion of the shop is 54 x 64 feet with a 14-foot ceiling. This area is accessed by a 16-foot-wide and 10-foot-high overhead door. This is the fabrication and mechanics area. The area is well-stocked with welding and woodworking equipment. The mechanics bay is stocked for fast repairs, lubes and oil changes. It includes a hydraulic lift. A roll-up door separates the two areas.

The following are other features found in the Reed Brothers shop:

> The shop features 34 clerestory windows. The 3- x 4-foot windows do not open, but they draw in gallons of natural light from their high prominence on the shop's exterior walls.

> Overhead LED lights are controlled by sections.

> There are electrical outlets every 12 feet around the main shop.

> Compressed air lines and electrical conduit are contained inside custom-built ducts mounted high on the shop walls. The ducts protect the lines and ease the work of expansion or maintenance.

> An oft-overlooked shop feature is a walk-through or service door. This shop has three that give easy access to the shop's work and public areas.

> The Reed Brothers shop includes a couple of nice structural features -- acoustical steel to absorb sound and a heavy insulation package with R-38 insulation in the ceiling and R-19 in the walls.


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