WINDSOR – The largest chain of farm and ranch stores in the U.S. is making a push into Sonoma County with a planned store in Windsor.

Tractor Supply Co. of Brentwood, Tenn., signed a long-term lease for a 22,000-square-foot store with a roughly half-acre yard to be built this summer in a new industrial park off Conde Lane.

The retailer targets suburban and rural hobby farmers and ranchers, a category the company calls "self-reliants," with pet supplies, animal feed, power tools, riding mowers, lawn and garden products. Commonly, each store employs a welder, a farmer and a horse owner. That market is estimated to account for $5.5 billion in annual U.S. sales.

"They've been trying to get into Windsor for years," town Planning Director Peter Chamberlin said of Tractor Supply.

The 71-year-old company's other North Coast stores are in Ukiah and Dixon. Nationwide, Tractor Supply (Nasdaq: TSCO) has 855 stores in 44 states. In late January the company announced it plans to open 70 to 80 stores this year, compared with 91 openings in 2008 and 89 in 2007.

Revenue in 2008 was $3.01 billion, an 11.3 percent increase from $2.70 billion in 2007. Same-store sales, a common metric to compare results from stores of the same age, increased 1.4 percent last year compared to 3.4 percent in 2007. Fourth-quarter same-store revenue growth was virtually the same as for the year.

2009 revenue is projected to be $3.2 billion to $3.3 billion. Same-store sales expected to be about the same as those in 2008.

Expense and inventory control contributed to decent results amid the "challenging consumer headwinds" of late 2008, according to a statement by Jim Wright, chairman, president and chief executive officer.

"During the year, we focused on redefining our merchandise mix toward more basic and non-discretionary items, which contributed to higher traffic for the past three quarters," he said.

Propping up same-store sales were consumables such as animal and pet products, clothing and footwear.

The building permit for the Windsor store, to be located at the southwest corner of American Way and Conde Lane in Conde Lane Business Park, is being finalized, according to Pat Imbimbo. He's a project manager with Airport Business Center, which developed the business park by the same name near the Sonoma County airport and is a partner in Conde Associates, owner of the 14.75-acre development.

Designed by Del Starrett Architect of Santa Rosa, the store is set to be built starting in May and opening in November. Pacatte Construction of Santa Rosa is the general contractor for the roughly $3 million project.

Shawn Johnson of Keegan & Coppin represented Conde Associates in the lease deal. Five parcels in the business park remain available for development.

Tractor Supply would be the second business in Conde Lane Business Park and the largest currently active project in Airport Business Center. DuMol Winery opened on American Way last summer.

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