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Warm weather spurs construction of new fleet store

Developers of a new fleet store are aiming at a June 1 opening. If the warm weather at the Jan. 7 groundbreaking ceremony is any indication of future forecasts, it shouldn't be a problem.

Developers of a new fleet store are aiming at a June 1 opening. If the warm weather at the Jan. 7 groundbreaking ceremony is any indication of future forecasts, it shouldn't be a problem.

It was an unusually warm 25 degrees when a group of nearly two dozen gathered for the Monday morning groundbreaking, just south of the Dean's Country Market store.

In addition to many officials and members from the Perham Area Chamber of Commerce and city, store owner Mark Tomsche and True Value hardware representative John Williams were on hand.

As Williams explained it, the approximately 28,000 square foot building would be much like a Mills Fleet Farm--but much smaller than the typical 300,000 square foot Mills store.

Tomsche's will be an independent fleet store, not affiliated with Mills or the L and M Fleet stores--but True Value will be the primary wholesale vendor.

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The new fleet store will include components of True Value's "Destination" marketing strategy, noted Williams. Under this new approach, the store will have more lines of merchandise for the family--in particular--inventory aimed at women. Studies have shown, surprisingly, that women make 52 percent of the average household's hardware purchases, said Williams.

In addition to traditional hardware, the store will serve the farming sector, noted Tomsche. Fencing, repair parts, tillage equipment, and feeders are among the farm-oriented merchandise Tomsche will be handling.

"Mark's Fleet and True Value" will be constructed on a 4.33 acre lot in the Happel Addition. Total project cost was estimated last fall at about $2.8 million.

Originally, the store was planned for 32,000 square feet, but following a True Value market study, the plan was downsized to 28,000 square feet.

Tomsche said the store will employ 19, ten of them full time. Two assistant managers will be hired.

The Tomsche family's original store is in Sauk Centre; and the Tomsches have additional stores in Paynesville, Glenwood, and Little Falls. The Perham store is Mark Tomsche's own venture--not directly connected to the other stores, he said.

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