Minnesota Weird Again

Earlier this evening I ran to Lowes to get some sandpaper for a project I want to post tomorrow. I need really fine sandpaper, and Lowes only carries up to 320 grit, so do you know what I had to do? I had to cross the highway. To Mills Fleet Farm. Do you live near a Mills Fleet Farm? Of course you don't. Nobody does. They only have locations in Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Iowa, so it's statistically improbable that anybody lives anywhere near one of these stores. But I do. And I EFFING LOVE THIS PLACE.

 Let me paint a picture for you. First, the store is about 3 times the size of Lowes or Home Depot. And the goods they sell? Guns, livestock pens, sacks of feed, bikes, toys, fishing gear, military surplus, canning and jarring supplies, food dehydrators, tires, tractors, clothing, boots, tvs, furniture, building supplies. There's an in-house taxidermist. An auto repair department.
See Smitty the Taxidermist's sign back there?
And the archery department is just behind the life size GI Joe. 
Bumper harvest you need to preserve?
Ark you need to build? 
Furnitures parts: my favorite aisle.
Dale Gribble's favorite aisle. Doomsday preparation can be sexy!
Or not. I was going to ask first before I took their picture, but I didn't have time to explain, you know, what's a blog, what's the internet, what's electricity, what's science? But I bet I have something in common with these kindly Mennonites. We all love Mills Fleet Farm. Because isn't there a little apocalyptic doomsday prepper in all of us?

(And, yes, I got my sandpaper. And spray paint. And mason jar lids. Hopefully I'll get my little project posted for you tomorrow!)


  1. Um, I like MFF too. And I like people-watching when I'm there, because everyone wears denim overalls and plaid shirts. The men, too. I actually bought snow boots there, and winter jackets. Not the vogue black wool melton type, but the sort we shovel driveways (and slip on ice) in. In the early days, one of my relatives (husband's side), upon hearing that I hadn't been to MFF yet, said, "Oh you have to go. They have EVERYTHING." Like one of those markets in Bangkok. You never know what you're going to find, but it will be at a great price when you do find it. Didn't know about the taxidermist, though. I don't think I've ever bought vacuum cleaner bags in a store that had an in-house taxidermist. It's so weird it's cool.

  2. Haha But only a true midwestern-er can tell you the difference between a Farm and Fleet and a Fleet Farm. Can you? The two families who run each store have an unwritten rule that they wont open a store in the same town as the competitor. LaCrosse/Winona and Chippewa Falls / Eau Claire (I think) are about as close as they get.

    My dad always threatens every year to only do his Christmas shopping at Fleet Farm. His logic if its not in Fleet Farm you don't need it.

    I think you are located in Rochester but do you ever make the trip up to the cities? I think you would LOVE Ax-Man. http://ax-man.com/

    I live in CA now but grew up in Michigan/Illinois/Wisconsin and Minnesota. I was in Minnesota for 12 years so if you ever need suggestions on Midwestern survival feel free to ask.

  3. In house taxidermist? Now, I think I have heard everything. As a kid growing up in the New York, tri-state area, I thought I was worldly and wise, but this post has just proven that I'm not and I'm truly humbled. And smarter, because of it.

  4. I can always tell when my mother-in-law buys outfits for the kids at Fleet Farm because they smell like lawn fertilizer. But there is something to said for a store where you can buy a composite wood fence, a scented candle, and gummy bears all in one trip.

  5. If you really want a good laugh google the Happy Schnapps Combo-Fleet Farm. I am from Southeastern Wisconsin and this is a local favorite.

  6. in house taxidermist, followed by a photo of a soldier!!!! so, does the taxidermist stuff people?


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