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10/08/2021

Blain’s has expansion moves on the board

Blain’s Farm & Fleet has plans for two new Wisconsin locations in 2022.
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Blain’s Farm & Fleet has calculated plans to open new locations.

But before new stores are opened in Grafton and Rhinelander, Wis., the farm and ranch retailer has re-opened a renovated Oak Creek, Wis. location.

“We pride ourselves in continuing to expand our products and services to meet our customer’s needs while offering an unparalleled modern general store experience,” said Jane Blain Gilbertson, Blain’s Farm & Fleet CEO, owner, and president. “As a big thank you to our friends and neighbors in Oak Creek, we’re thrilled to celebrate this re-opening with everyone who has supported us since we originally joined the community in 1987.”

While a recent grand opening celebration featured special events in Oak Creek, Blain’s plans to open the Grafton and Rhinelander stores in the fall of 2022. 

Each store is expected to bring about 100 new jobs to each community. These will include a mix of full-time and part-time positions, including store managers, cashiers, department product experts, small engine repair, and auto service technicians and managers.

The company is planning to conduct hiring fairs in summer and early fall 2022. 

According to Gilbertson, Blain’s strategy isn’t just about growth through random expansion.

“It is about carefully selecting the right communities who truly appreciate our family-owned Modern General Store,”  the CEO said. “We are very selective about the locations where we choose to grow because we are in it for the long haul. Unlike other retailers who close stores regularly, we have never left a community where we have opened a store.”

Gilbertson notes that the two communities that will host new locations are areas the Blain’s has looked at for some time. 

Growing up in Weyerhaeuser, Wis. Norman “Bert” Blain and William “Claude” Blain worked at their dad’s feed mill. Later, they opened Chevy and Oldsmobile dealerships in Weyerhaeuser, Bruce, and Ladysmith, Wis.

In 1955, they created the original Blain’s Farm & Fleet, opening stores in Janesville and Rice Lake. 

“For Rhinelander in particular, we’ve been working toward this opportunity for several years,” Gilbertson said. “This location is special to me because we’ve wanted to be nearer to my Dad and Uncle’s stomping grounds in northern Wisconsin.”

Following next year’s planned openings, Blain’s will operates 45 stores.

 

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