Back in the day, Farm and Fleet stores were all over the West Michigan region. But with the advent of stores like Menards and Home Depot, they became a casualty of progress. But the Farm and Fleet name will be returning to Michigan and Portage.

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Blain's Farm and Fleet, which is big in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa announced today they're dipping their corporate toe into Michigan later this year. Look for a Blain's Farm and Fleet store to open in Portage in the former Menard's location across from Celebration Cinema near the Crossroads Mall. A Jackson store is also planned. And if that goes well, there may be more to come. No specific date has been announced yet, other than Fall of 2018.

Regarding the former Menards' site, Blain's says it will expanding the building "adding approximately 30,000 square feet to the existing building to create a 109,000 square foot store.  The existing building will be renovated to include a new automotive service center."

Another claim Blain's makes is the way they treat employees.

"Blain’s has a unique culture that strives to treat our associates like family, and we are in it for the long haul,” says Dennis Armstrong, Chief Human Resources Officer.  “We have a great track record of keeping store associates for long careers which is unusual in the retail world."

The Jackson location is a former KMart Store at 3555 O’Neill Drive.

What's interesting and difficult to pin down is if and how Blain's Farm and Fleet might be related to Quality Farm and Fleet stores, which were founded in Hudsonville and thrived here until the end of the last century, before a disastrous merger put Quality out of business.

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