Retailer excited to serve community, gives gifts to local groups
By John McLoone
It was well worth the wait.
Three years after Target closed its Hastings store, Appleton, WIbased Fleet Farm announced it had purchased the 125,000squrefoot building. Since that announcement last summer, crews have labored nonstop to unveil the fruits of their labor.
The new Fleet Farm opened its doors to the public for the first time on Thursday, Sept. 1.
The store is everything Hastings needs – and more. The grand opening celebration starts Friday, Sept. 9, when the doors swing open at 7 a.m. The Hastings American Legion will participate in a flag opening to mark the occasion, and there are giveaways planned for the first 500 customers on Friday and Saturday.
There is family fun and food trucks planned Friday through Monday from 10:30 a.m. 2:30 p.m.
Customers can register to win a fishing trip, a ninepiece Milwaukee Tool package or an Oklahoma Joe’s Pellet Grill.
Special guest appearances are planned by hunting expert Melissa Bachman from noon to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 811 a.m. Sunday. Minnesota Wild Mascot Nordy and Golden Gophers mascot Goldy will also be stopping in.
While many have already perused the selection, it’s going to be a busy opening weekend.
In Fleet Farm’s words, “There’s something for everyone at Fleet Farm, including hunting, fishing, home and garden items, farming products, apparel, power tools, auto supplies and our very popular snacks, nuts and candy.”
The first Fleet Farm opened in 1955 and “offers a unique mix of highquality, valuepriced merchandise and services for active, outdoor, suburban and farm communities.”
Fleet Farm is store number 48 for the growing retail chain, with all stores located in the Midwest.
Fleet Farm offered a sneak peek to The Journal prior to its friends and family opening, where it gifted three local organizations with donations.
“We’re super excited for the store to be opening up,” said Manager Kyle Cupp, who has been working with his team for months to be ready for this week.
“We literally can’t wait for the store to be open,” he said.
This place is all Fleet Farm. There’s no resemblance to its roots as a Target store.
“We’ve definitely transformed it into a Fleet Farm. We’ve raised the ceiling up to make it feel a little bigger inside, gave it some fresh paint and made it into a Fleet Farm,” said Cupp, as he toured the spacious aisles in the new store.
The Fleet Farm team was busy with lastsecond details in every department. Fleet Farm exceeded its hiring goal in Hastings.
“Our goal was 150 team members. We were able to get to 180,” Cupp said. “People were excited we were coming to town.”
“We have a great culture here at Fleet Farm. Our reputation speaks for itself,” he said, adding, “Of course that 20 percent employee discount always helps people to come work here is well.”
The store has a huge assortment of grills and seasonal items on display. “And don’t forget that Fleet Farm candy,” said Cupp of the popular treats always posted up near checkout lines.
One feature is the Milwaukee and DeWalt tool departments.
“We put a lot of work into our tool selection here in Hastings,” he said.
And with Hastings foremost in mind, that means there’s a large, dedicated area for fishing enthusiasts.
“With Hastings right on the river, we wanted to make sure that we had a large marine assortment,” he said. “The thing that I’m probably the most excited about in sporting goods is our reel bar. The average avid fishermen, they want to test out the reels before they buy them. We made sure we have all of our reels that we sell on displays, and the customers can try before purchasing.”
The outdoors and sporting goods department is perhaps the biggest in the store, as you’d expect in Hastings. There is a large farm department, and impressive display of food and items for pets.
There is everything you need for your yard or property, no matter how big or small, from riding and push mowers to chain saws and log splitters.
Fleet Farm is perhaps most excited about the opportunity to make a difference in the Hastings community.
“We’re excited about being here as much as the community is excited for us,” Cupp said. “It’s been fun for us to see how the community is really getting excited for us. People come up to us when we’re having lunch and see the Fleet Farm logo on our shirt. They introduce themselves and tell us how excited they are for us to be in town.”
“It’s very important for us to be involved in the community in Fleet Farm. We want to build relationships with community groups,” Cupp said.
They started that off with their sponsorship of Rivertown Days with the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce in July. At their event last week, the donated $3,000 to Hastings Family Service. They also gave two pallets of ammunition in partnership with Federal Firearms to the Hastings High School Trap and Skeet Team. Animal Ark in Hastings received a pallet of toys, snacks and food.
“We’re ready to open. We can’t wait to see the community coming in those doors,” said Cupp.