Tractor Supply Company is on its way to Poolesville, after being told it can keep certain products on display outdoors.
The town’s Board of Zoning Appeals voted unanimously Tuesday night to allow seven types of items, mostly for gardening, to remain outside at all hours.
The decision would be a deal-breaker for the company since about 25 percent of its profits come from selling products on outdoor display, said Gary Dobbs, director of Asset Management for J.P. Property Investments, which owns the shopping center Tractor Supply will move into on Fisher Avenue. Dobbs represented Tractor Supply at the meeting.
The board’s primary concern was theft of products left out overnight.
Dobbs assured the board that this is typical practice for the company and it hasn’t found theft to be a prohibitive problem. The company maintains stores in many higher crime areas, he said. It will install a security system with cameras and chain products together at night to prevent theft, he explained.
With this final agreement, Dobbs confirmed that Tractor Supply plans to move into Poolesville, though he could not provide an expected opening date.
The list of items Tractor Supply will be allowed to keep outside at all times includes:
•All lawn and garden equipment, including lawn movers, garden carts, snow blowers, chippers/shredders, log splitters, mow-n-vacs, all-terrain/utility vehicles
•a sampling of three-point equipment (such as finish mowers)
•dog houses and kennels
John Speelman, owner of Poolesville Tractor Supply and Hardware, said the stores’ inventory overlaps by about 20 percent. He has operated his store for 28 years and has been fighting Tractor Supply’s move to the town.
The company will open its store at 19610 Fisher Ave., the previous site of Selby’s Market, which closed in 2012. The town has been without a grocery store since.
Resident John Longo expressed concern at the hearing that the space would not be filled by a grocery store.
But President of the Town Commissioners Jim Brown said filling that space will make the town more appealing to those who might open a grocery store.
“It will allow another grocery store to come in here in a smaller space and be successful,” he said. Other grocery stores haven’t wanted to move in because the space was too big for them. Potential grocers feared taking a small space to later be put out of business by another grocery store moving into the site Tractor Supply will lease, he said.
After talking with dozens of companies and finding difficulty filling the 70,000 square foot space, Brown said he was pleased that Tractor Supply found a good fit in Poolesville.