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Darcy Rogers remembers the time she helped raise and save a lion cub. It was 1981. The lion cub from Niabi Zoo was rejected by its mother and would have likely died. However, a zoo official knew the people at Teske Seed & Feed in Moline – now named Teske Pet & Garden – and allowed the cub to be raised by folks at the local business. Ms. Rogers got the job and became the cub’s best friend for several months. (An article in the Rock Island Argus newspaper, still displayed on a wall in a back office at the business, features a story on the adventure with the headline: “Lion cub becomes the star attraction at Teske’s.”) Later, the cub, which had become an adult lion, was healthy and back in a zoo. Ms. Rogers was able to see her now-grown old friend. “They wouldn’t let us hold (the lion), of course. But she rubbed up against the glass near us,” said Ms. Rogers, who today is general manager of Teske’s Moline store at 2426 16th St. The lion cub adventure is one of Ms. Rogers’ favorite memories from her many years at Teske’s. That story – and many others – were recently shared as the Quad Cities business celebrated its 100th anniversary. Celebration events were held Friday-Sunday, March 25-27, with a petting zoo, drawings for prizes, refreshments and much more at both its Moline store and the Teske store at 2395 Spruce Hills Drive, Bettendorf. Shortly before those celebrations, Ms. Rogers, who has worked at the business for more than 40 years, took time to reflect on her long history with the family-owned business and what the future might hold for the store. Her work history began when she was a girl working in the family business. “When I first started, I got paid in hamburgers for my work,” she said with a smile. During the years, Ms. Rogers has done just about every job imaginable at the business. The business got its start in 1922 when her great uncle, Al Teske, founded Teske’s Seed & Feed in Moline. Around 20 years ago, the business changed to its current name to reflect the changing times and new offerings at the business. “But we have a few people who still write checks to us and address them to ‘Teske’s Seed & Feed,’” she said. Ms. Rogers added that some of the biggest changes she has seen over the years include: the increased sales of garden supplies and plants; a shift to more upscale dog and cat food to meet a growing demand; and the move to do away with selling horse supplies, which was once a mainstay of Teske’s. Today, the business offers a wide variety of products. Some of them include:
- Animal and pet supplies.
- Pets ranging from fish, guinea pigs, rats, mice, rabbits, birds, hedgehogs and more. (But no dogs and cats in the Moline store. A new Illinois law went into effect earlier this year that put new restrictions on the sale of dogs and cats. The Bettendorf store still sells kittens and puppies.)
- Lawn care supplies.
- Plants and flowers for the garden.
- Al Teske founded Teske’s Seed & Feed in Moline in 1922. About 20 years ago, the business changed its name to Teske Pet & Garden.
- Teske’s ships pet supplies and garden supplies around the country – including fish tanks sent to Alaska.
- Teske’s expanded to Iowa at the Bettendorf location (formerly Mr. Home Grown) in 1992.
- Teske’s has opened and closed a retail outlet in Davenport; and opened and closed a lawn and tree service.
- Teske’s operated a satellite plant shop located at the former Rock Island Country Market in the spring of 2006 and 2007 offering a variety of bedding plants during the planting season.
- Employees stay on the job. The business has staff members who have been active for more than 50 years.