Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

August 8, 2013

Tractor Supply bullish on Benzie

BENZONIA — Tractor Supply Co. is exploring the viability of a new store on U.S. 31 in Benzie County.

Benzonia Township Supervisor Jim Sheets said the company reached out to the township six to eight weeks ago to learn more about the township and its zoning on U.S. 31 as it considers a new retail outlet.

“They have been in conversation (with the township,)” Sheets said. “I think it’s in the hands of their real estate people right now … we haven’t seen any deeds come through.”

Tractor Supply Co. spokesman Michael Graham said the company’s real estate division is not prepared to release any information yet on any new store plans.

Sheets said the U.S. 31 corridor offers a lot of potential to commercial retailers: the state’s traffic numbers show the highway averages between 10 to 20,000 cars a day through the area, depending on the time of year.

“The question I had of them is what type of employment they would bring in,” Sheets said. “If they did come in, they might bring in a manager or assistant manager from someplace else, but the rest would all be hired locally. They gave a figure, a full-time max of about 15 (new employees.)”

Benzie County Chamber of Commerce President Mary Carroll said a new Tractor Supply store would be a great asset to the county.

“Obviously, any new business that provides good jobs in Benzie County — we are all in favor of that,” Carroll said. “We would love to reach out to them and see if there is any way to assist them.”

Tractor Supply is the largest retail farm and ranch chain in the country with more than 1,200 stores in 46 states. It started by serving farmers in Minot, N.D., and now offers products ranging from agriculture supplies to wood stoves, pet and horse supplies, hunting products, tools and safes. It has an existing store on U.S. 31 near Chums Corner in the Traverse City area.

The company’s second quarter earning results increased by 20 percent over the year prior.

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