The new Tractor Supply Co. store opens Saturday morning in the former Walmart.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The new Tractor Supply opens for business on Saturday morning — but customers have coming around for the last week and a half.
"It was like working in a fishbowl," laughed Store Manager Bonnie Stapleberg in between welcoming invited customers on Friday night with Regional Director Peter Menzynski.
The business community and local officials got a sneak peek at the 27,000 square feet store when it opened at 5 p.m., along with gifts and a chance for $100 gift card.
Stapleberg said Mayor Richard Alcombright had stopped by earlier to welcome them early on. By about 6:30, people were still coming in ones and twos and going out with bags and shopping carts.
"We are excited to see this store," Fire Director Stephen Meranti responded to a question. "We have been waiting for this store to open."
The new Tractor Supply employs 14 full and part-time employees.
Project DMB Construction of Winchester began work on Aug. 5 to transform what had been the garden center and the eastern end of the former Walmart. The fenced area on the side of the building is being retained for storage and product display. The larger Ocean State Job Lot, which owns the building, opened in August. A third tenant has not yet been announced.
The company operates more than 1,223 stores in 46 states, according to a press release, that are focused on supplying the "lifestyle needs of recreational farmers and ranchers" for the rural lifestyle.
There are 140 stores in the region, and this is the 14th in the region. Menzynski said the chain is in an expansion mode with another Tractor Supply opening next week in Guilderland, N.Y.
"The stores in Bennington (Vt.) and Pittsfield are high performing," he said. "This store is for the people in the middle so they don't have to drive as far."
Tractor Supply offers pretty much everything for the small farmer, gardener and home handyman — except tractors. But you can buy a pump, or horse-care items, stove pellets, bird seed, power tools, tractor parts, boots and jackets, a snowblower, country decor and hardware.
It's the largest retail farm and ranch supply store chain in the United States and has been operating in Massachusetts since 2005.
Stapleberger said the response has been good. This is a return to the city for her, since she'd worked at Stop & Shop for nine years.
"I know a lot of the people here," she said. "It's like coming home."
The store's grand opening is next week, on Nov. 2, with gift card giveaways. Tractor Supply has also made donations to Northern Berkshire Animal Rescue, which will have some kittens at the store, and Equus Therapeutic and Berkshire County 4-H, which will both have information on hand.
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