Fleet Farm open for business

Employees welcome customers into the new Fleet Farm store at the grand opening Oct. 20. It’s on the property of the former Geneva Lakes Kennel Club at Interstate 43 and Highway 50. (Michael S. Hoey photo)

By Michael S. Hoey


The Delavan Fleet Farm officially opened for business on Oct. 17 with a “soft opening.”

The store’s Toyland toy department, a staple of the Fleet Farm chain, opened Friday and a grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony took place Saturday. Professional fisherman John Gillespie was at the grand opening and the store had several Melissa and Doug giveaways.

The store also had a friends-and-family event Oct. 16 to provide invited guests a preview of the store along with several door prizes. The store also gave $1,000 to Delavan-Darien High School’s FFA program. $500 went to the current membership and $500 was given to the alumni membership. A separate $1,500 donation was made to Lakeland Animal Shelter. Mayor Mel Nieuwenhuis spoke at the event and several City of Delavan Alderman, Town of Delavan officials and Chamber of Commerce members attended.

General Manager Joel Garcia said that while Toyland is aimed at kids, the entire store will be a toy store for everyone. He said if Fleet Farm does not have what you want, you don’t need it.

“We have a little bit of everything,” Garcia said.

Garcia said the store has everything from hardware to power tools to housewares, to candy and snacks. The automotive center will sell and service tires and brakes and provide oil changes. Garcia said the store has an awesome hunting and fishing department with items ready for deer hunting and ice fishing. The gas station comes with a two-bay car wash.

Fleet Farm was built on land owned by NRB Land LLC on the site of the former Geneva Lakes Kennel Club. NRB paid for the upgrades to the intersection of East Geneva Street and the entrance to the development, which is also in the early stages of adding a Meijer store at the southwest corner of East Geneva and North Shore Drive.

Garcia said the entrance and the road that leads to Fleet Farm was finished in time for the store opening despite 55 inches of rain over the past several weeks in the area that slowed construction.

Garcia said Fleet Farm is a family store that will appeal to everyone in the family. He said with other stores, Mom and Dad might want to go to the store, but the kids have no interest. At Fleet Farm, everyone will find something to be interested in.

“We’re a different kind of store,” Garcia said. “It will be great for the community to have a store that offers something different for everyone.”

The store also makes an attempt to be locally relevant with the products it carries, and it had a presence at Maxwell Street Days and the Walworth County Fair as it tried to get involved in the community. Garcia said the store has a budget for charitable giving and those interested in the program can ask for him.

Garcia said the store employs about 200 people with a good mix of full- and part-time jobs.

Garcia said the people of Delavan have been very excited to have Fleet Farm in town. He said Fleet Farm did its research and determined the location would be good for Fleet Farm, and the store would be a good draw for the city and region.


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