Governor, Chippewa Valley celebrate new distribution center construction

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) -- The Chippewa Valley is celebrating the start of construction on a new distribution center in Chippewa Falls.

Gov. Scott Walker was at the groundbreaking ceremony for Mills Fleet Farm's new location in the Lake Wissota Business Park.

Chief Operating Officer Hugh Leasum said, “I think this is going to be a big boom and a big boost for the Chippewa Valley and the surrounding communities.”

The 1.1 million square-foot distribution center will impact the surrounding area as it plans to hire 325 employees.

President of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce Bob McCoy explained, “It's hard to come by projects like that and these are all good paying jobs at $15 an hour plus. As we look to expand the economy this is not only going to be the warehouse distribution but all the trucks and the fuel and all the spinoff that goes with that. This is a big project for Chippewa Falls and a big project for the Chippewa Valley.”

Construction on the project actually began back in late March, with a completion date of sometime next year, but Mills Fleet Farm says the exact date is still to be determined.

Leasum added, “We go onto a lot of sites but Chippewa Falls has moved this project faster than any site we've ever been on. So we're very appreciative of all the help with the city and the county.”

Walker says while other businesses are contracting Mills Fleet Farm is expanding but in order to fill the growing number of open positions he says Wisconsin needs to invest in education.

Walker said, “I can't afford to have anyone on the sidelines. I need to have people get the skills and qualifications they need to get into the workforce, certainly for the good of the taxpayers, but for employers need first and foremost; I have to fill those positions.”

Mills Fleet Farm says it isn't done growing yet! While there are not confirmed locations the retail chain plans to continue expanding throughout the area.

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