MILTON-FREEWATER -- A Tri-Cities retail store that provides clothing, equipment and supplies to farmers, ranchers and homeowners will expand across the state line with a new outlet on Highway 11.
Ranch & Home will move into the more than 25,000-square-foot building known historically as the former Big Apple Grocery Warehouse.
Jeff Dress, Ranch & Home co-owner, said Tuesday the move is expected to take place this fall. Most recently the building was occupied by Elgin Appliance, as well as another Tri-Cities based retailer, Milne Tool & Hardware. The former has since moved to 175 S. Main St. The latter continues to operate in the Tri-Cities.
Dress said numerous details are in the works or have yet to be determined, including preparations inside the building, a more specific opening date and an approximate number of employees.
Milton-Freewater will be the third location for the store that sells everything from wood stoves to fencing supplies to sporting goods.
Area residents have long sought these items an hour's drive away at Ranch & Home's locations in Pasco and Kennewick.
He said the expansion will end up cannibalizing a portion of the business from the Tri-Cities, but will ultimately better serve customers by going to them. It will also allow people to make more trips for regular daily items, he said.
Though some items may be redundant to what's carried in some other local businesses, the intention is to serve the market with items that are harder to come by without a trip to the Tri-Cities, Dress said.
The building is mammoth compared to many other retail properties, but is much smaller than Ranch & Home's Kennewick operation, Dress said. Consequently, operators will try to be more precise when it comes to stocking the store for the needs of the community. He said it will feature a combination of hard and soft goods, including clothing, footwear, hardware, tools, gun safes, stoves and an array of other items.
Ranch & Home was founded in Pasco by George Dress in 1974 with a focus on clothing, equipment and supplies for farmers. The business quickly expanded to serve the needs of ranchers and homeowners, according to its website. The second store opened in Kennewick in December 1999. Dress' sons, Bill and Jeff, joined in the family partnership at that time.
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