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When it comes to protecting grain and other products from the elements and keeping contents confined within a trailer during transport, Shur-Co of Illinois has the issue covered.

"Shur-Co is the leader of the tarp industry nationwide," Illinois branch manager Jason Mattison said. "We're trying to get our products in other areas around the world."

The company opened in Decatur in 1997, providing tarping products and mechanisms for the agriculture, transportation and construction sectors, to the Great Lakes region.

Mattison has been with the company since 1998, starting in the installation bays and moving his way up to branch manager.

The Decatur office moved four years ago from a facility near Interstate 72 to a new building near Archer Daniels Midland Co. at 3993 E. Mueller Ave. because the business and services were growing.

The old building didn't provide the height and space for retractable tarp system installation, Mattison said. The business outgrew the facility.

Mattison said there is a wide variety of products for the agriculture sector, including mechanisms for grain carts and hoppers, auger covers and tarps for flat beds and other applications.

The business also provides electric upgrade systems for tarps, Mattison said. For example, if a farmer is harvesting in the field and has an electric tarp system, they can automatically open and close it with the touch of a button.

Mattison said loyal customers keep coming back because of the diversity of products, many of which come about because of interaction with customers. Shur-Co employees talk to people and ask them what they want and need in their area of farming or transportation.

"We have an engineering department that is just outstanding. They pinpoint different things they think there is a demand for," Mattison said.

Bob White, of Danville, runs his own welding business and has been selling Shur-Co products for years. He said he's been working with the company for "every bit" of 20 years, and also uses the products.

"Shur-Co is known to have the best products available," White said. "So if I was going to sell for a company, I wanted to sell the best."

White said in addition to selling Shur-Co products, he also has his own auger cart and semitruck trailer tarps.

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"We're not just business associates, but we're also friends," he said. "They're just wonderful to work with."

Shur-Co has a movable auger that farmers use to unload grain. An electric upgrade helps with efficiency and ease when moving grain from one hopper to another, Mattison said.

"We engineer to specific needs," he said. "I don't think a lot of people realize the variety of products we offer. They may think we just have tarping systems for one thing."

One of the most popular items Shur-Co offers is an electric tarp upgrade for trailers.

"We install those every other day," Mattison said.

This conveniently rolls the tarp from one side to the other on a grain trailer. An electric hopper opener is another item often sold in combination kits with the electric tarp upgrade, Mattison said.

The 4500 series electric tarp is a product Keith Inks, of Hilltop Farms in Mishawaka, Indiana, said they can rely on to keep grain dry. The farm chose Shur-Co products because of the well-known name.

Having an electric tarp upgrade eliminates the strenuous process of maually rolling back the tarp.

Shur-Co of Illinois has sold about 130 to 150 of the electric tarp upgrades so far this year, Mattison said

"Ninety to 95 percent of the time, probably more, we have returning customers because how we've treated them as a customer and how we've provided service and quality products," Mattison said.

There are some mom-and-pop shops in the Central Illinois area, but most of them sell Shur-Co products, he said.

"To say there is another name-brand company competing with us, I can't think of another one in Illinois," he said. "We're glad to be here in business."

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Some Shur-Co products used in the agriculture sector

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