Farm and Fleet will soon fill big-box hole on south side

Store seen as ‘perfect fit’ for village plans opening celebration in October
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

Blain’s Farm and Fleet will open its doors in Grafton on Thursday, Oct. 13, with a three-day grand opening celebration slated for the following week, the company announced Tuesday.

The store will hold a so-called soft opening on Thursday, Oct. 13, while the grand opening will be held Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 20 to 22.

The announcement is heartening news for a community that feared it would sit with an empty big-box store in the middle of its South Commercial District after Shopko closed its doors in 2019.

When Blain’s said it wanted to open a shop at the former Shopko site, 1771 Wisconsin Ave., Grafton Community Development Director Jessica Wolff said it was “a perfect fit.”

“We see this as leading to a resurgence in the South Commercial District,” she said at the time.

Jane Blain Gilbertson, CEO, owner and president of Blain’s Farm and Fleet, said then that the company works to “carefully select” the communities in which it locates.

“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,” she said.

The 94,500-square-foot Grafton store, which has indoor and outdoor spaces, an automotive service center and tire shop, will be Blain’s 44th location.

It will also feature a drive-through where customers can pick up orders in two hours or less. Patrons can also pull up and buy such items as pet food, water softener salt and mulch without an advance order. In Tuesday’s announcement, Gilbertson said Blain’s is “thrilled to become an integral part of the Grafton community.” Ashley Bonnier, who will manage the Grafton store, said, “I am so excited to be part of such a warm and friendly community.”

To prepare for the opening, the company is holding job fairs both this week and next.

The job fairs are being held from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 7 and 8, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9, at the Ozaukee County Fairgrounds pavilion in Cedarburg and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Grafton.

The grand opening will include prizes, giveaways, vendor demonstrations and sales.

Renowned horse trainer Ray Ainsworth will hold shows throughout the event, and former Green Bay Packers running back Ahman Green will be at the store from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 22.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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