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Blain’s Farm & Fleet of Cedar Falls Celebrates 20 Years of Service

The History of Blain’s Farm & Fleet

Bert Blain



Claude Blain

Bert & Claude Blain grew up
in Northern Wisconsin helping
run the family feed business
and an implement dealership.
They owned and operated
Chevrolet and Oldsmobile
automobile dealerships in
Ladysmith, Bruce and Weyerhaeuser where they built their
reputation by serving their
friends and neighbors.

In 1955, the Blain brothers
recognized the need for quality
products at a discount. They
bought a former meat market
in Janesville, WI and opened

“To us, that’s just
being good neighbors.
We’re proud to be a
true partner in each
of the communities we
Jane Blain Gilbertson
President & CEO
Blain’s Farm & Fleet

As they began expanding the
business, their guiding principle was to provide the best
brands at fair and honest
prices. The concept was well
received, leading to steady expansion. This remains the cornerstone of the family-owned
business today.

Contrary to popular myths,
Blain’s Farm & Fleet and Fleet
Farm are not related at all.

The Blain’s Farm & Fleet stores
opened first in 1955. The Blain
brothers told their friends, the
Mills brothers, about the new
store and they liked the idea
so they opened their first store
shortly thereafter. The Blain
Family and Mills family have
remained friends through the

The company now has 42 locations throughout Illinois, Iowa,
Wisconsin and Michigan. An additional store in Walker, MI, will
open in Fall 2020.

Upon Bert’s death in 1993, his
son, Robert, took the reins and,
with the help of his sister, Jane
Blain Gilbertson, they kept
building on the family legacy.

The Great Myth

In 2016, the Mills family sold
Fleet Farm to a New York private equity investment firm,
KKR (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts).
The Mills family is no longer a
part of the Fleet Farm business.
KKR has been involved with several retailers, including the 2017
bankruptcy of Toys ’R Us.
“I am saddened that a once
family-owned business, Fleet

Blain’s Farm & Fleet of Cedar Falls: 20 Years & Still Growing

In 2014, Robert retired and Jane
became the sole owner, president
and CEO of the company. Jane is
focused on serving customers and
the community in the tradition of
her father. “To us, that’s just being
good neighbors. We’re proud to
be a true partner in each of the
communities we serve,” said Blain

their first Farm & Fleet store.


Farm, sold out to a Wall Street
private equity firm. It is another
incursion of Wall Street into Main
Street,” said Jane Blain Gilbertson. Blain’s Farm & Fleet proudly
remains a family-owned Wisconsin-based company which will
continue to support and re-invest
in the communities they serve,
just as they have for the past six

Blain’s Farm & Fleet of Cedar Falls Proudly Supports Local Organizations

Blain’s Farm & Fleet is serious about giving back to the community. Over the years, they have supported
all of these local organizations and many more!

Blain’s Farm & Fleet was founded
in 1955 by Bert & Claude Blain
and is still proudly family owned.
Blain’s Farm & Fleet of Cedar
Falls was the 31st store opened
by the Blain’s family. It was
opened in 1999 and has been
located at 219 Brandilynn Blvd.
ever since.
In 2010, the Blain’s family again
invested in the store to better
serve their Cedar Falls area
neighbors. The entire building
was remodeled both inside and
out with the addition of a new
store front, new drywall and
the expansion of several departments – including bigger and
better Paint, Tools and Home
Improvement departments. In
2017, the Pet department was
expanded to offer even greater
variety to local pet lovers.
The Blain’s family continues to
show their commitment to the
Cedar Falls location by investing
in the store to make it even more
convenient for shoppers. Last
month, the Blain’s Farm & Fleet
Drive Thru was redesigned and
improved. Customers can simply
drive up to the drive thru and
place their order on the spot,
like a fast food restaurant. Store
associates will load your order
right into your car or truck – a
great convenience, especially

when ordering bulky products
like dog food, mulch, fertilizer,
salt, etc. For more complex
orders, customers are encouraged to order in advance either
online at or
via the Blain’s Farm & Fleet App
to purchase almost anything in
the store and have it waiting for
them in the drive thru within 2
hours or less.
As Blain’s Farm & Fleet celebrates its 20th anniversary in
Cedar Falls, it is justifiably proud
to look back at the way it has
supported the community, not
just with the best service, pricing
and products, but by giving back
to local organizations to make
our area a better place to live.
The number of charities and organizations that Blain’s Farm &
Fleet has supported over the past
20 years is astounding, and we
have listed some of them on the
prior page.
Blain’s Farm & Fleet of Cedar
Falls has also given back by allowing its store to be a venue
for local charities to connect
with the community. Blain’s allows everything from Girl Scout
cookie sales and Boy Scout popcorn sales to 4-H & FFA project
presentations to Humane Society
pet adoption events within its
stores, allowing local charities

to raise funds and to increase
awareness of their organizations’
good works and current needs.

Blain’s Asst. Manager Fred Perryman, Val Kahler of
the Cedar Bend Humane Society and a happy pup
named Molly during a recent pet adoption event.

Currently, Blain’s Farm & Fleet
is working with the Cedar Valley Jaycees to provide a Merry
Christmas to children in need.
Customers can donate new, unwrapped toys at the Blain’s Farm
& Fleet store, and Blain’s will
match it with up to $250,000 in
toys across all of their stores.
Blain’s Farm & Fleet is a true
partner within our community.
This is a store that the community can truly celebrate. We wish
them a happy 20th anniversary
and look forward to celebrating
many more years of success!

Blain’s Celebrates Our Long Term Associates
Working for Blain’s has been life changing.
Coming from other competitors to a family
owned business is the best decision I ever
made. I am appreciative and grateful to
work for such a great company and look
forward to serving my neighbors in Cedar
Falls for many years to come.
~ Chris Bechthold , Store Manager


I have enjoyed working for Blain's Farm and Fleet
because of the family atmosphere. This has been
the only job I've had in my 30 years of retail that
gives holidays off to spend with family. I enjoy the
hardworking, dedicated people I work with. This
has been my longest tenure at any job and I look
forward to retiring here.
~ Tom Tisue, Assistant Manager

Years of

I enjoy the flexible schedule and
how management & associates
have helped make my departments
the top departments in the store.
~ Andrea Williams.

Cedar Falls Lion Club

Elementary Dike-New Hartford

Iowa Jr. Gelbvieh Assoc.


Years of

Years of

I like working at Blain's because I
get to help friendly customers.
~ Nick Ruden

I like being able to spend holidays
with my family. Thanks, Blain's!
~ April Johnson

Years of

18 USC 707






Years of

I love our profit sharing program & that
we are closed on all major holidays.
A lot of companies don't do that.
~ Debbie Melohn

I love Blain's great friendly
work environment.
~ Peggy Herman

Cub Scouts Pack 3108
Hardin County Waverly/Shell
Conservation Rock Elementary

North Iowa
Saddle Club



Years of

Years of

I like working at Blain's, and I love
working in the Candy Department!
~ Bonnie Briden

I am happy here thanks to the fun
customers and employees!
~ Lorena Kral


Years of


Years of
I like working at Blain's because
they make you feel like family.
~ Cheryl Homeister

Blain’s Farm &
Fleet Named to
the Forbes List
of America’s Best

Blain’s Farm & Fleet of Cedar Falls
has many associates with 10 or
more years of service. That is a
rarity in the retail industry. In
fact, with more than 4,300 current
associates, Blain’s has been bucking many retail trends, showing
successful growth as other retailers are shrinking or closing. That
kind of success does not happen by
“More than sixty years ago my
family founded Blain’s Farm &
Fleet with the understanding that
our associates are our highest priority,” said Jane Blain Gilbertson,
President and CEO of Blain’s Farm
& Fleet. “Our core mission is to
treat our associates like family and
our customers like neighbors.”
Earlier this year, Blain’s was recognized for the second year in a
row by Forbes Magazine as one of
“America’s Best Mid-Size Employers.” Blain’s was ranked number
13 in Wisconsin and number 293
in America. Forbes gathered their
data by administering surveys
through online panels to ensure
employee opinions were free of
any company influence. Forbes
states that the goal of the surveys
was to determine which organizations make their employees “feel
happy, inspired, and well-compensated.”
“As a company, we know how
important it is to invest in our associates, the people who invest so
much of their lives in Blain’s Farm
& Fleet.,” said Jane Blain Gilbertson. “Of course, we’re proud to
receive this honor again, but we’re
even more proud that its source is
our associates themselves, who believe their ‘work-family’ deserves
this award.”


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