Schweiss Counter Mills Fleet Farm, Ankeny Iowa | Schweiss Must See Photos
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Schweiss Bifold Doors go on newest Mills
Fleet Farm store in Ankeny, Iowa

Schweiss Liftstrap Doors

Mills Fleet Farm had two Schweiss Bifold Liftstrap/AutoLatch custom-made 24' doors installed on its newest store in Ankeny, Iowa.

Mills Fleet Farm's Door in Ankeny, IA

The new Mills Fleet Farm store in Ankeny is the second store in Iowa, with the first being built in Mason City. It has over 200 employees that serve 2,500 to 3,000 customers on a daily basis.

Mills Fleet Farm, founded in 1955 by the Mills family, is a growing company with a retail chain of 34 stores in Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa. It's newest store recently celebrated its grand opening July 29, at Ankeny, Iowa - a midstate location of approximately 45,000 residents located along Interstate 35 and U.S. Route 69 approximately 10 miles north of downtown Des Moines bordering on an agricultural and suburban-based economy.

Fleet Farm stores sell hunting and fishing equipment, small appliances, housewares, automotive goods, apparel, hardware, farming supplies and much more.

The newest Ankeny store, the second of its kind in Iowa, covers a total of 261,000 sq. ft., making it one of the larger Mills Fleet Farm stores. The Ankeny store is the second Mills Fleet Farm store in Iowa, their first Iowa store and 29th store opened in Mason City in 2002. It's a busy store that includes all of the above mentioned departments along with a large adjacent lumberyard filled with farm supplies, a garden center, Gas Mart and four-bay car wash. The store is also set up for an indoor shooting and archery range, but has not yet added that feature.

Managing the new store is Rob Lauwagie who came to the store from Mason City where he also worked as manager. He has worked at several other Fleet Farm stores.

"We probably average from 2,500 to 3,000 customers per day depending on the season. At times, after we first opened, we had over 5,000 customers come in. The store has 210 employees," explained Lauwagie.

Customer service and efficiency is paramount to Fleet Farm's day-to-day operations. Helping to add to the efficiency was the addition of two 24' 4" x 17' 5" custom-made Schweiss Bifold Liftstrap/Autolatch doors. The doors are positioned side-by-side and open to the outdoor garden center.

The two Schweiss Bifold Doors have upgrades and features of top override switches, side latch jiggle switches, a door base safety edge and emergency back-up hand crank.

Mills Fleet Farm looks on Schweiss Door for new project

"The Schweiss door installers did a good job and were on time, actually all of the contractors for our new store did a good job," said Lauwagie. "I would absolutely recommend Schweiss doors, it's a real good product."

Ankeny Mills Fleet Farm store hours are from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. It is located at 3875 S.E. Delaware Ave.

Chris Sonmor of Widseth Smith Nolting (WSN) architectural and engineering firm, which has eight offices throughout Minnesota, was one of the project manager's on the new Ankeny, Iowa Fleet Farm store.

WSN was also involved in the 20,000 sq. ft. indoor shooting and archery range at the Brainerd/Baxter Fleet Farm store. The building now occupies what was once home to Paul Bunyan Bowl and Babe's Restaurant & Lounge. Firearm and archery enthusiasts enjoy a year-round 50-yard live fire range with 10 lanes, 30-yard archery range with seven lanes, a pro shop, multi-purpose classroom and coffee bar lounge.

The live fire range walls are specifically designed for 100 percent ballistic containment with 8 inches of solid filled concrete block, 3/8 inch armor plated steel and 2 inches of ballastic rubber. A bullet trap at the end of the range is comprised of gravity-fed granular ballistic rubber and the lead is sifted from the rubber and recycled. The range is fully equipped with an automated target retrieval system that allows shooters to receive feedback in seconds from numerous target configurations. Roof mounted air handlers and a plenum wall provide evenly distributed airflow and prevent partially vaporized lead particulate and gun powder from swirling back into the shooters face or adjacent booths.

Mills Company founded in 1922

Now in its third generation of family ownership, the Mills Company, which now has evolved into Mills Fleet Farm, was originally founded by Stewart C. Mills, Sr. in 1922 in Brainerd, Minnesota. It was at this location that he operated the Lively Auto Company selling Chevrolets and Hupmobiles. A year later Mills started Crow Wing Oil Company, the region's largest pure oil and bulk oil distributor and gas station operator. Mills Motor, a Ford-Lincoln dealership opened in Brainerd in 1931 and in 1937 it added Mercury to the automotive line.

Mills Fleet Farm gets Schweiss Door for new store

In 1946 Mills brothers had locations in Brainerd, Little Falls and Crookston. Standard Parts Company later became NAPA stores. Stewart Mills, his sons Stewart Jr. and Henry C. Mills II opened the first Fleet Wholesale Supply in Marshfield, Wisconsin to sell merchandise direct to farmers. In 1960 the company name becomes Mills Fleet Farm, derived from "fleet" discounts to "farmers."

Expansion continued with five Mills Auto Service Centers opening in Minnesota and Wisconsin in 1980. In 1995, expansion went westward with the opening of their first North Dakota store in Fargo. Also added was a convenience store and car wash in Plymouth, Wisconsin. They now have four auto dealerships.

The distinctive Fleet Farm silo was put on its Fergus Falls store in 2000 and at other stores since. In 2009 Fleet Farm went to online sales at: www.Fleetfarm.com.

Widseth Smith Nolting

Since 1975 Widseth Smith Nolting (WSN) has grown from a small group of engineers in Crookston, Minnesota, to more than 180 professional engineers, registered architects, land surveyors, environmental scientists and support personnel working from eight offices throughout the Upper Midwest for the past 30 years. They have developed strong relationships with several municipalities by delivering quality services that meet and exceed their clients' needs.

WSN is a multi-disciplined firm with experts in civil, mechanical, electrical and structural engineering; architecure; landscape architecture; land surveying and environmental services.

WSN engineers design efficient systems for transportation and water management. A variety of other services includes wastewater collection, water treatment and storage, street design, site evaluation, industrial park layouts, recreational and airport design projects to mention a few.

The firm is owned by employees who maintain active roles in their professions and in the company's management team. WSN can be contacted online at: www.widsethsmithnolting.com or by calling 320-762-8149.

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