The details are sparse but according to various sources it appears that Mills Fleet Farm has indeed began the process of purchasing roughly 34 acres of land in Hermantown where the company plans to build a new store.
The Duluth News Tribune reported late last week that Mills Fleet Farm intends to construct a new location at the corner of Loberg Road and Mall Drive (directly to the left of Hom Furniture). We've pinpointed in the location in the map below for strictly your convenience.
Right now the sight doesn't appear to be much of anything besides woods with a few homes on it. It's next to another large site of 30+ acres that Steiner Development had been marketing for a 250,000+ square foot retail development. That site is across the street from where a new Holiday Inn Express hotel is being constructed and just down the road from where Hermantown Centre has been planned for almost 10 years now. If you missed the point we're trying to get across here well, we'll put it plain and simple. This area is targeted for retail development like none other in the Twin Ports
The site that Mills Fleet Farm has a purchase agreement for is really one of the best in the city of Hermantown that is ready for retail development. The site is unique because it "is situated in an area of high topography which will allow for great visibility from Highway 53" Adam Fulton from the City of Hermantown explained to us. What also is great about the location is that it is within the Hermantown Marketplace development area, a City of Hermantown project that we will have more details on soon.
As mentioned previously new details for the store are not set in stone and the development is in the very beginning planning stages. "We have not received any applications from Fleet Farm" Adam explained. "We would [however] be excited to have a Fleet Farm in Hermantown, and are interested in assisting them however necessary to help make the project work."
The Duluth News Tribune spoke with Jeff Meek, vice president and chief financial officer, who mentioned that the company is really excited to enter the Duluth market. We had reported earlier in the year that Mills Fleet Farm was looking to open a location in the area but at the time they were scouting along I35 near the Proctor area. Nothing at that point really pointed a strict time frame as to when they would open besides sometime between 2016 or 2017. It looks like those dates may still be correct for the Hermantown location.
While Mills Feet Farm does have a purchase agreement for the 34 acre parcel of land in Hermantown there still have yet to be any formal plans announced regarding the specific plans for the site such a store size or its amenities. If you're not familiar with what their developments typically include we suggest taking a seat.
A typical Mills Fleet Farm store in today's world if built from the ground up is typically around the 260,000 square foot mark (or up to 271,000 square feet in the case of the location in Rochester, Minnesota). That's huge. If you don't grasp square footage numbers well that's about 100,000 square feet bigger than a typical Target store. Essentially just imagine two of the Duluth Target stores sitting side by side. All that space allows the Mills Fleet Farm to feature an outdoor lumbar yard, tire center, convenience store / gas station along with a car wash. It's basically a mini city.
Here's a little background on the company if you're not familiar.
Brainerd based Mills Fleet Farm currently has 34 locations in the midwest and has been in business for over 50 years. They specialize in "high quality merchandise you won't find anywhere else." They also make note that they are you full-service supplier for life, work, home, and recreation" meaning they literally carry every product your mind could conceive. If you haven't been, its insane. The store alone carries 150,000 products... so don't get lost.
Now just what does Mills Fleet Farm sell. Here we go... they sell hunting and fishing equipment (along with licenses), small appliances, housewares, automative goods, apparel, hardware, lawn and garden supplies, paint, pet supplies, sporting goods, tools and farm supplies (thanks Wikipedia). Literally everything.
More details regarding the size of the store, what the entire development will actually include, and of course a construction start and finish date will be available in the coming months right here at CDINDULUTH.