Most building renovations involve revamping floor space, updating fixtures and a covering it all up with a few coats of paint. That wasn’t the case at Scotland County Livestock, where the Blomme family literally took the roof off for a complete remodel of the livestock sale arena.
“Fortunately we had some really good weather to work with around Christmas, and that’s when we did it, opening up the roof to install a new, 13×26, 50,000 pound digital scale sale with arena updates,” said Barb Blomme.
The new enclosed arena is the scale, with digital measuring load cells under the floor to accurately show potential buyers what they are looking at.
“Now we have the animals entering directly into the sale arena, where they are weighed right in front of the buyers,” said Grant Blomme. “It is much faster and way more efficient.”
In order to make room for the new scales, the original auction block had to go. It formerly was located in the arena. When the scales were installed, the family also constructed a new elevated 10×12 auction block room.
That addition required further renovations as the room was moved into former pen space.
“Standing here looking at the sale arena, you really don’t see how much work went on behind the block,” said Barb referring to the renovations in the pen areas.
The family was forced to do significant blocking and cement work in order to blend the two buildings together as one to allow for the shared space for the new arena and auction block.
“We are very lucky to have our sons, Bryce and Grant and daughter-in-law Mallory as partners here at Scotland County Livestock,” said Barb. “Their construction knowledge was crucial in making this all work.”
Blomme Construction and Jonathan Reiff Construction crews worked building new entrances with concrete ramps, relocating support blocking for the cattle barns and finally installing a new roof over the finished product.
In addition to the new digital scales, buyers will also enjoy new seating at the facility. The renovations included installation of roughly 100 new cushioned theatre-style seats.
The family views the renovations not only as an investment in its business but overall as an advancement for the community and the future.
“It is something we have been thinking about for a while, but now that it is done and we are seeing the benefits firsthand, we are all saying we should have done this 20 years ago,” said Barb.
Originally the renovations were planned for September, but the family decided to hold off until the end of the year for the two week period there would be no sales at the market because of the Christmas and New Year holidays.
They worked through that 14 day period and continued with additional upgrades in January, working around several of the regularly scheduled Tuesday sales.
“These types of situations always seem to take longer than expected and to cost more, but in the end we have a pretty nice facility to show for the efforts that is going to be easier to use and far more comfortable for customers,” said Grant. “Obviously we see the improvements now, but it really is an investment for the future as well.”
The Blomme family purchased the sale barn in 1997. Several years ago a new computerized system was installed for ticketing and sales monitoring. Recently Scotland County Livestock moved its sale day from its traditional Saturday timeslot to Tuesdays.
The family said that with likely 90% of beef sales occurring early in the week on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the date change just made sense as they viewed Tuesdays as better marketing days and ultimately better for buyers and sellers..
“We haven’t had to make a lot of changes over the years, but we have made the two biggest ones here in the past year and felt like they are going to work out well for the community,” said Grant.