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Store could create more than 100 jobs [Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA)]
[January 13, 2014]

Store could create more than 100 jobs [Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA)]

(Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Blain's Farm & Fleet aims to open its new, 127,800-square-foot store in Asbury Plaza this fall, giving area shoppers an additional option and possibly generating more than 100 jobs.

Work is ongoing at the store's site, located between Plaza Drive and the existing Kohl's store. The new location will become the retail chain's fifth store in Iowa. As of now, the closest Blain's Farm & Fleet is in Platteville, Wis.

Renee Tarnutzer, the company's creative director of Internet sales and communications, said that the company is excited about joining the Dubuque community.

"For years, we've heard from customers who shop our Platteville store that they'd love to see us come to Dubuque, so we welcome this great opportunity," she said.

Local leaders in the business community share that excitement.

Molly Grover, president and CEO of the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce, said the new store would help keep more dollars in the community and help the area maintain and create jobs.

"We are thrilled that Blain's Farm & Fleet will have a presence in our community" Grover said. "We definitely think it is good news." The number of jobs that will be created remains unclear. Tarnutzer said the company still is "evaluating market needs" to determine how many employees will staff the store. Robert Blain, president and co-owner of Blain Supply Inc., the parent company of Blain's Farm & Fleet, said in July that locations of similar size employ about 120 people.

Farm & Fleet stores sell farm equipment, automotive items, home improvement products and outdoor apparel. For a handful of existing businesses, the company's arrival could create competition.

Jim Lincoln, general manager at Theisen's in Dubuque, acknowledged that there is some overlap in the products and services the two companies provide.

"As far as if it's going to affect our business, I really don't know," Lincoln said.

"Our standpoint is that we want what is best for Dubuque. If it brings in more business to the community, we see that as a good thing." Tarnutzer said the store in Dubuque would reflect the company's new, environmentally friendly design format. Blain's Farm & Fleet first experimented with the format while building its location in Verona, Wis., and earned accolades for its green initiatives.

The store in Dubuque will feature high-efficiency lighting and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment. Tarnutzer also noted that 70 percent of the steel in the building is from recycled material.

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