Real Estate and Retail

Department store chain entering market

January 18, 2018
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Blain's Farm & Fleet men's clothing section
Blain's Farm & Fleet, founded in 1955, is owned by Jane Blain Gilbertson, the daughter of N.B. Blain, who co-founded the business. Photo via

A Midwest department store chain is tapping into West Michigan.

Janesville, Wisconsin-based Blain’s Farm & Fleet has its sights set on a new store in Portage, which would be its first location in the region.

The building, located at 879 Mall Dr. behind Crossroads Mall, encompasses 79,000 square feet.

Blain’s plans to add about 30,000 square feet and renovate the existing location to create a new automotive center.

“We have had so many requests by Michigan residents to build a store in their hometown,” said Kristen Stewart, chief marketing officer, Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

“Michigan feels like home to us, with strong Midwest values and deeply rooted communities, and we look forward to continued expansion here,” said Jan Blain Gilbertson, owner and president, Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

Blain’s is awaiting final approval from Portage officials, which it expects in the coming weeks.

The company plans to hire from the local community and will begin job fairs this summer.

The company is also nearing approval for another store in Jackson.

The 120,000-square-foot space will be located at 3555 O’Neill Dr.


Founded in 1955, Blain’s Farm & Fleet has 38 stores in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.

The company carries a variety of clothing, hardware, agricultural, sporting and automotive brands, such as Carhartt, DeWalt and Yeti.

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