It's officially official: Tractor Supply Company, the largest rural lifestyle retail chain in the country, is indeed constructing a 930,000 square foot distribution center at the Pumpkin Patch in Frankfort. State and local officials along with representatives from Tractor Supply gathered there on Wednesday to break ground at 1938 Country Mile in Frankfort.

"That's the official street address of Tractor Supply's newest distribution center," boasted James Bono, chairman of Herkimer County's Industrial Development Agency.  "This is a great day for Herkimer County."

“The addition of our new distribution center in New York is important to our continued growth, as the facility will provide Tractor Supply the capacity we need to further our store expansion in the Northeast Corridor of the country,” said Greg Sandfort, Chief Executive Officer. “We are always looking for new ways to reach our customers as quickly and efficiently as possible, and this distribution center will play a critical role in our digital fulfillment strategy. We’re excited to begin the building process and look forward to a longstanding partnership with the great Frankfort community.”

Local dignitaries ceremoniously shovel at a groundbreaking at the Frankfort 5S South Business Park in Frankfort on Wednesday, August 9, 2017. Officials from Tractor Supply were in town as construction began on their new northeast distribution center which is scheduled to open late in 2018. (Photo by Bill Keeler / WIBX)

The new location will help service the growing needs of stores throughout the northeast, as well as their healthy demand from online business, according to Senior VP, Distribution and Logistics, Colin Yankee. Additionally, Tractor Supply opens 100 new stores every year and the new facility will help supply those locations. The Frankfort distribution center will be Tractor Supply's eighth center nationwide. Yankee said they ultimately chose the Frankfort site because of its size, and also its proximity to highway transportation; but, the final decision came down to the "willingness and readiness of the community to be open for business." He added that during tours of the area he found a workforce that "wanted to work" and represented the same values as their company.

Yankee estimated the entire project to cost some $75 million resulting in 350 jobs in 2018, with more to be added as the center becomes operational later in the year.  Hiring will begin early next year for leadership and management positions and then in late summer, job fairs will be held to fill production and operational positions.  "We have a ton of stores here in this area and we love hiring our customers," Yankee said.  Last year, the Heidelberg Bakery opened at the business park and the addition of this distribution center, will consume most of the remaining land in the park.

Construction vehicles work on prepping the land which will soon become a construction site for a large distribution center for Tractor Supply Company in Frankfort, NY. Wednesday, August 9, 2017. (Photo by Bill Keeler / WIBX)

"There are only 3 or 4 more small parcels of land left after this," said Bernard Peplinski, Chairman of the Herkimer County legislature.  "This has been a long time in the works and it finally paid off." Even as local officials, media and members of the public crowded under the large tent for the announcements, the sounds of construction vehicles made noise from across the park as the county readies the site for new construction.  "As the walls go up and the doors open later next year, the residents of Herkimer County and the surrounding area will benefit from the additional jobs and resulting economic growth as we work with Tractor Supply," added Peplinski.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was not in attendance, called it a "huge win for Herkimer County and the region." "We have invested more in the Mohawk Valley in six years than the region had seen in decades – and it’s paying off,” said Cuomo.  Assemblyman Brian Miller, Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi and State Senator Jim Seward were credited as instrumental in closing the deal along with Howard Zemsky, President, CEO and Commissioner of the Empire State Development Agency, who praised the County's efforts. The state contributed significant tax incentives in order to help seal the deal.

"At the end of the day, we made this happen," said Bono. "We can finally celebrate."

Community leaders give a standing ovation to Tractor Supply VP, Distribution and Logistics, Colin Yankee at a groundbreaking ceremony at the Frankfort Business Park on Wednesday, August 9, 2017. Tractor Supply will open the Distribution Center in 2018. (Photo by Bill Keeler / WIBX)

Tractor Supply Company is based out of Brentwood, Tennessee and was first established as a mail order parts business in 1938, according to their website. Today, the company is America’s largest operator of farm stores and they currently have retail outlets in Herkimer, Utica and Rome, as well as more than 1700 other stores throughout the country. In 2004, Fortune magazine called them one of the fastest growing companies in America. Today, the publicly traded company (TSCO) continues to grow as they plan to open another 100 stores in 2017, according to their ‘end of year’ financial disclosure. They also own several stores across the country under the Pet Sense and Del’s brand.

Statements by local officials:

Senator James L. Seward said, “Whenever I discuss economic development for the Mohawk Valley, the conversation inevitably turns to the Frankfort 5S South Business Park, also known as the Pumpkin Patch.  Tractor Supply’s arrival is great news and the project will stimulate our regional economy leading to future growth and more good paying jobs for our families.”

Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi of Utica said, “Tractor Supply Company will be an outstanding tenant and will bring job opportunities to many area residents, which will help businesses in surrounding communities as well. Through securing state funding toward the cost of a new water tower and infrastructure improvements, we were able to help make this project a reality. I want to acknowledge the Herkimer County Legislature, the Herkimer County IDA, and everyone else who partnered on this very significant investment in our community.”

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