Look inside Fleet Farm, opening this week

May 28, 2019

If you can’t find what you need at Fleet Farm, you probably didn’t need it.

That’s the tagline for the retailer, which opens its first South Dakota store at the Sanford Sports Complex this week.

And it’s a big one – at 185,000 square feet – offering everything from fishing, hunting and outdoor products to auto parts, farm and pet supplies, home improvement and household goods, clothing and footwear, toys and food.

“It is so much more than a farm store,” president and CEO Derick Prelle said. “Some look at us and see the name and think that, but we’ve got everything from hardware to footwear and apparel and candy. We’ve got a lot of stuff under that roof.”

The Wisconsin-based retailer was founded in 1955 has 43 stores across the Midwest.

The Sioux Falls store debuts a new Fleet Farm prototype, featuring more modern exterior finishes, clean structural design elements, more glass and increased natural light.

“Every year we try to redesign the stores with customer feedback, so in many ways this is the flagship,” Prelle said. “It’s got the best thinking of what customers like.”

The store is laid out so that when customers walk in, “it is the most shoppable store we’ve ever built,” he continued.

“You can see the products. We’ve got lots of places where you can play with the products and test them out, and we’ve made it easy to navigate the aisles. A lot of people come in because it’s a fun afternoon with the family. You can get lost.”

Fleet Farm emphasizes value, Prelle added.

“We have been, for 60 years, a value retailer. Our everyday prices are low, and we have great sales, and we’ll match everybody else’s prices.”

The store includes services such as gas, a car wash and auto repair, as well as key duplication, chip key programming, water-quality testing, cutting services for tubing, building wire, chain, cable and rope, and custom paint tinting.

“This store will have more services than just about any store in the fleet,” Prelle said. “All kinds of hardware services and all kinds of specialists in the store. That commitment to service is the best we’ve ever done.”

The company’s growth took off a couple of years ago when it was acquired by a private equity firm. It plans to add several stores this year.

“We ask ourselves who’s crazy enough to put shotgun shells next to Carhartt next to candy,” Prelle said.

“That unique mix of merchandise we put under one roof is really the secret sauce of Fleet Farm. It’s not about being a farmer or a rancher. If you’re a person who loves the outdoors and loves sports and activities, there’s a lot of fun stuff under that roof. It’s really the uniqueness of the concept that’s allowing us to grow.”

Fleet Farm serves a range of markets, from rural communities through suburbs of the Twin Cities.

“Sioux Falls is a really interesting market for us,” Prelle said.

“It’s the perfect size. I’m not sure if it’s a one- or two-store market. We’re going to see how we do and how customers respond. We’ve got our eyeballs on a second store if things work out. I’ve been in the market three or four times and seen some pieces of dirt I’m interested in, but let’s get the first one open first.”

A ribbon cutting was held Tuesday, and the grand opening Friday will include a storewide scavenger hunt for prizes. The first 500 customers Friday and Saturday will receive a free hat.

Store hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. The auto center closes at 6 p.m. daily. Convenience store hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, but there’s also 24-hour, pay-at-the-pump service.


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 Look inside Fleet Farm, opening this week

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