Will Tractor Supply Co.improve the local employment picture?

The nation's largest retail farm and ranch supply store is coming to the Las Vegas area, creating an estimated 12-17 full- and part-time jobs.  The company claims their typical store has 15,000-24,000 square feet of inside selling space with a similar amount of outside space used to display agricultural fencing, livestock equipment and horse stalls.

Stores supply welders and generators to animal care products and men and women’s workwear. You can also find pet supplies, animal feed, power tools, riding mowers, lawn and garden products and more. The staff at each store includes welders, farmers and horse owners who collectively provide an exceptional depth of knowledge and resources.

It is fair to say that Las Vegas does not have a one-stop shopping solution for the wide range of goods offered by Tractor Supply, but we do have many stores that offer portions of this array.  Our local stores will be competing with the giant retailer both in terms of selection and price, and the locals may not always win.  Tractor supply may become our Wal-Mart of what they term the rural lifestyle, transferring some employment from existing merchants to their big box.

In their words, Tractor Supply "is committed to understanding and fulfilling the needs of those who . . . frequently describe themselves as hobby farmers and hobby ranchers. It is estimated that the “hobby” or “pleasure” farmer consumer segment spends more than $5.5 billion annually on farm supplies. Today less than 10 percent of the company’s customers classify themselves as full-time farmers or ranchers. In fact, Tractor Supply’s largest customer segment does not farm at all. They are more aptly described as rural or suburban homeowners, or self-reliants.”

Maybe we are more traditional in our attidudes toward the land and maybe we will stick with our traditional suppliers to meet our needs.  But our shrinking population both in town and in the country will tighten up the market considerably.