CHIPPEWA FALLS — The Mills Fleet Farm distribution center in Chippewa Falls will host a celebration Monday to commemorate the first truck shipments leaving the $69 million plant.
The company announced plans for the party, which will begin at noon, with remarks by Mills Fleet Farm President and CEO Derick Prelle, chief supply chain officer Rich Tannenbaum and Chippewa Falls Mayor Greg Hoffman. The trucks are scheduled to leave at 12:15 p.m.
The building officially opened in late December. The company has 100 locally hired employees working there.
“It will be an exciting day,” Hoffman said. “It’s a great day for Mills, for Chippewa Falls and the Chippewa Valley, with the work opportunity and everything it brings to the community. How often do you have a 1.1 million-square-foot facility open in the community?”
The employees work for DHL Supply Chain; they are not Mills Fleet Farm workers. The distribution center will eventually employ 325 people with wages averaging $15.60 an hour.
Hoffman said there will be other economic benefits felt by the opening of the plant, such as additional business at restaurants and convenience stores.
Chippewa County Economic Development Corp. executive director Charlie Walker shared Hoffman’s enthusiasm about the plant officially getting its trucks rolling.
“It’s just awesome for Chippewa County to be in partnership with Mills Fleet Farm and DHL,” Walker said. “It’s a turning point in our economy.”
Construction of the building got underway last March.
“I firmly believe no other community could have gotten it done in this amount of time,” Walker said.
Hoffman said he has heard a few comments from people concerned about the additional truck traffic on Highway 178.
“I heard the same concerns when the sand plant opened, and nothing has happened yet,” he said.
The plant, 1801 Commerce Parkway, is on a 70-acre parcel in the Lake Wissota Business Park in the northeast corner of the city.
The five-party developer’s agreement involved the city, Chippewa County, Mills Fleet Farm Group, Ryan Cos. US and DHL Supply Chain. Ryan Cos. constructed and owns the building, and DHL Supply Chain will manage the employees.