Fleet Farm sets sights on Grafton market

Retail chain considers several potential sites for new outlet store, including just north of Costco store
Ozaukee Press Staff

Mills Fleet Farm is eyeing several sites in or near Grafton for a new big-box retail store.

“There are a lot of different factors. We are looking to expand and we’re looking at some of the markets we’re currently not in,” said Tom Carrico, vice president of real estate and construction for Fleet Farm. “This obviously seems to fit the bill and we would like to do something in Grafton if we can.”

According to a wetland study conducted by the state Department of Natural Resources for Fleet Farm, it identifies a possible store site on 27 acres in the Town of Grafton between I-43 and Port Washington Road, just north of the Grafton Commons anchored by Costco. 

“Before you start building a new development, you need to have the wetlands delineated to determine if they are state or federal wetlands. That all depends if they lead to navigable waters,” said DNR Communications Director Jim Dick.

Town officials said that land could potentially be annexed from the village.

Neither the village nor town heard from Fleet Farm, officials said. 

Fleet Farm doesn’t own the parcel referenced in the wetland study, but Carrico said his company is in negotiations with the owners.

A Grafton location would bring Fleet Farm’s store count to 43, up from 36 in 2017.

Carrico said the Appleton-based retailer that sells outdoors gear, tools, farm equipment and clothing is seeking to have approximately 70 stores in the next five years. Most Fleet Farm stores are in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The chain has five new stores expected to be open by October and seven planned for 2019. Carrico said this year stores will open in Oconomowoc, Delafield, DeForest, Eau Claire and Sioux City, Iowa. 

The growth of Fleet Farm comes after the purchase of the formerly family-owned company in 2016 by private-equity firm KKR & Co.

Carrico said that while Fleet Farm is looking at Grafton, it is too early to talk about plans and there is no definite time frame when the decision will be made.

“We’re currently looking at several sites in the Grafton area,” Carrico said. “We’d love to be there because it is a growing community and it’s right off the highway.”

In West Bend, city officials announced last week that Fleet Farm has proposed building a 190,000-square-foot store, which would replace West Bend’s existing 50,000-square-foot store.

Mills Fleet Farm is separate from Blain’s Farm & Fleet, which sells similar merchandise and has 38 stores in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa. 




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Ozaukee Press

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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