Tractor Supply Co. proposes Bear store to replace Kmart

Tractor Supply Co. has plans for a new store in Governors Square on Route 40 in Bear.

The store would be in the building previously occupied by Kmart, according to plans submitted to New Castle County. Its outdoor display area would be on the east side of the building adjacent to American Signature Furniture.

Tractor Supply spokesperson Darias Collins said the store will open next fall. It will employ about 15 people, Collins said. Collins declined to comment on the store’s location or layout.

The Kmart in Governors Square has been vacant since it closed in 2019. All of Delaware’s Kmarts closed by February 2020.

The former site of Kmart in Governors Square shopping center which will soon by a Tractor Supply Co.

In some cases, real estate brokers have had to divide the spaces Kmart left behind to fill them. The former Kmart in the Pike Creek shopping center for instance will be split into at least two businesses with Pike Creek Community Hardware due to take about half the vacated space. Work on the building began this month.

It appears Tractor Supply Co. will take only a portion of the Governors Square Kmart, which is listed at about 90,000 square feet in advertising materials. The plan sent to New Castle County shows a sales floor, indoor display and stockroom covering more than 15,000 square feet in addition to the almost 9,000-square-foot outdoor display.

The Bear location would be the seventh Tractor Supply Co. in Delaware, joining stores in Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Milford, Seaford and Millsboro.

Tractor Supply describes itself as the “largest rural lifestyle” retailer in the country. Its products include workwear and boots, pet supplies, zero turn and riding mowers, garden supplies, power tools and fencing.

The space it plans to repurpose in Bear is one of the last vacancies left by Kmart. The German grocer Aldi opened a store in the former Kmart off Coastal Highway in Rehoboth Beach in November. Some retail will remain in the former Kmart in Newark’s College Square as the shopping center morphs into a new mixed-use development.

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