Work picking up on Skagit Farmers Supply’s new $2.3 million store in Freeland

Foundation work is well under way on a new Skagit Farmers Supply Country Store in Freeland that is expected to boost the local economy and create 15 new jobs, company officials said Tuesday.

The new facility, at Cameron Road and Highway 525, next to Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, will be nearly four times the size of the existing Freeland store across from Payless Foods, officials said.

Brian Duquaine, Skagit general manager, said the new facility will be big enough to offer a full range of supplies in all categories, from lawn-and-garden to building materials to pet and domestic animal provisions.

“Community support for the existing store persuaded us to go forward with the new project,” Duquaine said from the company’s home office in Burlington. “That’s a great area down there, and our type of store fits in really well.”

The $2.3 million project on about three acres includes an 11,882-square-foot retail building, a 6,790-square-foot warehouse and a 3,000-square-foot greenhouse, Duquaine said. There will be parking for 42 vehicles.

He said the current 2,300-square-foot store is being leased by the company, and has become too small to handle growing customer demand.

Duquaine said the new store will be identical to the one recently built in Sedro-Woolley, and that the Freeland store is scheduled to open in mid-October.

He said company officials are mindful of the stagnant economy, “but decided to move forward because of the strong support of the community.”

He also said the company would continue to look for ways to expand in other commercial areas locally, including its propane-delivery service.

“We’re always looking for opportunities based on the needs of the communities,” Duquaine said.

He said the company would probably begin taking applications for the 15 additional positions beginning in June or July. The new jobs will be in the sales force and for the warehouse, he said.

The company currently operates six stores. Besides Freeland and Sedro-Woolley, there are facilities in Oak Harbor, Burlington, Mount Vernon and Stanwood.