MILLINOCKET, Maine — Tractor Supply Co. and a California-based landowner signed a 10-year lease Friday to bring the nation’s largest retail farm and ranch supply chain to the Northern Plaza Shopping Center on Route 11 early this fall.
“After a year and a half of negotiations, I am very excited that Tractor Supply is signing a long-term lease and demonstrating their confidence in the future of the economy of the Katahdin Region,” said Dan Corcoran, a broker with North Woods Real Estate who is handling the deal for Northern Plaza owner EnviroFinance Group of Sacramento.
Enviro-Finance Vice President Brian Rhoades called Tractor Supply “a wonderful addition” to the region already buoyed by Cate Street Capital’s plans announced this week to turn the Katahdin Avenue paper mill site into a nationally advertised industrial park anchored by the New Hampshire-based investor’s torrefied wood facility.
Tractor Supply Co. “will not only make life easier for Millinocket residents in terms of improving accessibility to shopping, but it will increase traffic to the shopping center’s other tenants,” Rhoades said Friday.
A spokesman for Tractor Supply said he would have an announcement of the deal and more details early next week.
Michael F. Graham, media relations specialist for Tractor Supply, has said the company hopes to open a storefront store at the plaza sometime this summer. Negotiations between the landowner at the former Ames store in the Northern Plaza Shopping Center and Michigan-based DMK Development, the retailer’s preferred developer, went on for more than a year.
Most of the delays were attributed to work needed on the property and Tractor Supply’s desire to do the job economically.
Aside from about a half-dozen thrift stores and a Family Dollar outlet, the region lacks a large-scale general supply retailer and a standalone clothing store. The closest are in Lincoln, about 32 miles from the plaza.
Based in Brentwood, Tenn., Tractor Supply offers men’s and women’s clothing, home improvement items, livestock supplies, welding and metalworking items, and sporting goods equipment, particularly snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles.
Its stores in Maine include outlets in Augusta, Bangor, Brunswick, Dover-Foxcroft, Houlton, Lewiston, Oxford, Presque Isle, Sanford, Scarborough, Skowhegan and Wilton, according to its website. A store in Windham is under contract to open this spring, company officials have said.
EnviroFinance will have contractors start remodeling work on the former Ames Plaza in two weeks. The owner is required to pave the parking lot, upgrade the building’s utilities and put a new roof on the building, among other things, Corcoran said.
Corcoran said that work would likely take two to three months, with Tractor Supply needing another four to six weeks to turn its portion of the former Ames shopping store into one of its stores.
“That’s just a rough estimate based on some calculations that we had, some of the planning that we have done over the last year,” Corcoran said.
Cate Street’s plans and Tractor Supply’s interest in Millinocket have spurred inquiries from three other national and local “family” retailers, Rhoades said.