Yesterday I confirmed that Mill's Fleet Farm (not to be confused with Blane's Farm & Fleet) will be carrying handguns in the next month or so. I also said I'd expand on why I'm more than a little excited about this.
Mill's Fleet Farm is primarily a farm supply store, however they do stock quite a bit of household goods, clothing, and outdoor recreation stuff, primarily hunting and fishing. It's kind of like taking a Tractor Supply and mixing it with Walmart, so while they do have camping stuff, it's not the high end stuff you'd find at even Gander Mountain or a similar purely outdoors store.
Fleet Farm has always been more gun friendly than similar stores (Blane's Farm & Fleet expressly prohibits Open Carry in their stores, where Mill's Fleet Farm welcomes it.) Their prices have never been anything all that special, but they've generally got the largest selection of ammunition in town, and a fairly decent offering of long guns. They also have an isle full of Military Surplus items, and in the last year have started carrying factory Remington 870 mag extensions and a Midwest Industries AR Carbine sized rail system. Handguns really aren't that much of a stretch.
Why I'm surprised is that while it's not a big chain (Mostly just Wisconsin and a few neighboring states) it's still a corporate-ish chain store. Given that within the last year or so some Walmart locations stopped carrying handgun ammo, or firearms all-together, for "image" reasons (they have recently decided to turn around on that decision. I guess the sales numbers spoke) I am pleasantly surprised to see another chain/big-box type store taking a step in the other direction.
It's not that far of a stretch though. As I've said, Fleet Farm has traditionally been gun-friendly anyway, and while I can't speak for other locations, the Stevens Point, WI location is poised to fill a decade long, county-wide void in the market (currently the nearest dealer that regularly stocks handguns is a 40+ mile drive down the interstate in the next county north of us.) Also, it's looking like Wisconsin will have CCW legislation of some sort (Constitutional or Shall-issue) by October, and demand for handguns will increase. Capitalism at its best.
It's a smart business move, and is probably giving the PR rep an aneurysm. Personally, I'm mostly happy to only have to drive across town to drool over handguns rather than to the next county.