The Rhinelander OfficeMax store will be closing in late September and a rural lifestyle retail store will move into its Lincoln Street location, spokespersons for Office Depot, Inc. and Tractor Supply Co. have confirmed to the River News.
"The Office Max store located at 1903 Lincoln Street in Rhinelander, Wisconsin is scheduled to close on 9/21/19," Shera Bishop, a communications specialist in the company's Boca Raton, Fla. office told the River News in an email.
(OfficeMax and Office Depot merged in 2013).
On Wednesday morning, company spokesperson Niki Giacchina confirmed that Tractor Supply is planning to open a store in Rhinelander this fall.
"I can confirm that a Tractor Supply store will be opening in Rhinelander Fall 2019," she said in an email. "The store will provide about 15 new jobs to the Rhinelander area, with at least half of those being full-time positions. Also, this is one of more than 80 stores that have/will open in 2019,"
The company also has a store in Eagle River.
"With close to 1,800 stores, Tractor Supply is always seeking the right opportunity to grow the retailer's footprint nationwide. The brand is passionate about serving its unique niche and has identified an opportunity to offer exceptional service and one-of-a-kind products to those living the Out Here lifestyle in the Rhinelander community," Giacchina added.
According to its website, Tractor Supply Company was founded as a mail order tractor parts business. It now supplies basic maintenance products to home, land, pet and animal owners.
"The company was founded in 1938 as a mail order catalog business offering tractor parts to America's family farmers," the website states. "Today Tractor Supply is a leading edge retailer with annual revenues of approximately $7.91 billion."
In addition to farm supplies, pet and animal feed and supplies, consumers will find clothing, tools, fencing, and more at Tractor Supply Co., the website notes.
Stacey Johnson, executive director of the Oneida County Economic Development Corporation, said she has been hearing rumors of the impending transition but hadn't received any official word. On Wednesday morning, she issued the following statement.
"Not very long ago, we could easily have been discussing the loss of a business and a reduction of jobs. Instead, I believe the story here is of a new business attraction that was eager to expand into a growing city. Of course, any change can be disruptive to those affected. Myself, Jenny Kowalczyk (employment and training specialist with Northern Advantage Job Center), and others are here to assist in job transitioning anyway we can." Johnson said.
Lauren Sackett, executive director of the Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce, said she had also been hearing that a change was coming to that location.
"I have only heard of rumors, there have been no permits filed or anything yet," she said.
When told OfficeMax had confirmed its closure date, Sackett said the information matched what she had been hearing.
"I think I heard the rumor, I think even from an Office Max employee that a Tractor Supply would be taking over that location,"she said.
Now that the news is no longer a rumor, Sackett agreed that this could be a positive thing for Rhinelander.
"While I think it is sad to see another store closing in our community, it is hopeful that we have a new company moving into its place," Sackett added.
Jamie Taylor may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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