Our History

Family Owned Since 1951

Our business history begins over 65 years ago with Bert Herriott and his son, Merle. In 1951, Bert developed his property at the corner of Market and Bradley as a service station. Merle and his family officially opened Herriott’s Cities Service Station that year. It was just after World War II and the Korean conflict. Cars were popular, travel was becoming easier and neighborhood service stations were the growth industry of the times. 


Within six years of opening, twelve service stations had opened within a one-mile radius. So Merle began looking for alternative avenues of income. Additional opportunity came about in the latter half of the 1950’s for him to carry out an idea he had had for several years, which was to rent out equipment. Now keep in mind, equipment rental was not the way things were done at this time. You either hired it done or you bought the equipment and did it yourself. However, the opportunity presented itself one day when he had his personal lawn mower from home at the service station to mow the little strip of grass along the parking area. Someone asked if they could use his mower. Well that got it started - word spread that you could rent a lawn mower from Herriott’s. Before long, he was renting and repairing all types of equipment.


In the early 1960's, the business began to outgrow the service station location, so Merle moved the company to a new location where the rental and repair business continued to flourish. By the mid 1970’s Merle and wife Berniece were ready to add a whole new area of rental items. Under Berniece’s direction, party rental items were added. It started with a few chairs, then a few tables, then someone wanted linens, then dishes and silverware and on and on. Events1 by Herriott’s was born, later renamed Herriott's Rents, Tents, & Events. Merle's eldest son David joined the family business in the spring of 1982, followed by David’s daughter Deborah (Stumph) in early 1986, and her husband Brian many years later. 


In late 1986, the family decided to concentrate entirely on the emerging party and event rental business. The Herriott Group was incorporated in 1988 with the intent of not only perpetuating and adding to the existing events equipment business, but to set up the mechanism that would allow the family to take advantage of opportunities to develop future business opportunities and to pass the business on to succeeding generations should they choose to become involved. Since then, our business has continued to grow, adding higher quality rentals and expanding our inventory under the leadership of Deb and Brian. 

In 2020, Herriott's Rents, Tents, & Events faced yet another exciting change. Deb and Brian, having learned all they could from the business, decided it was time to pass the baton to another local family who shared their vision. Herriott's was sold to Cheryl and Todd Lehman, and their daughter and son-in-law, Evin and Sterling Brooks. Now incorporated under Broman Resa, Herriott's will continue to hold itself to the highest standards and seek to expand its rental inventory to meet the growing needs of central Illinois. 

Phone: (217) 356-9713

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