Second Green Bay Harbor Freight store to open on west side
By Heather Graves
GREEN BAY – The former Planet Fitness building at 2641 West Mason St. on Green Bay’s west side will soon be home to the city’s second Harbor Freight Tools store.
“We’ve been looking to open a second location in Green Bay for some time,” Harbor Freight Director of Corporate Communications Craig Hoffman said. “While the first location is just eight miles away from this new location, it can easily take about 20 minutes to get there.”
Founded in 1977, Harbor Freight Tools – which offers more than 7,000 different types of tools and accessories – operates hundreds of locations throughout the country, including, with the new Mason Street location, 20 Wisconsin stores.
Green Bay Development Director Neil Stechschulte said the city was first approached about the project in early May.
“There was no zoning action regarding this project as this was a permitted use within the district,” Stechschulte said. “A site plan, or change-of-use site plan, was submitted July 14, and was approved for signatures on July 19.”
Hoffman said the Mason Street location – which will be almost twice the size of the east side location – is situated to serve customers in west Green Bay, De Pere, Seymour, Suamico, Howard, Hobart and Oneida.
He said the store is planning a mid-fall opening.
It’s an opening Green Bay District 12 Alderperson Jesse Brunette said he is excited to see.
“People who don’t live on the far west side don’t quite understand how far west the city extends past Packerland,” Brunette said. “So west of Packerland, there is very little retail development that can exist. So when you have the ability to bring a store like Harbor Freight, it is a positive because there are so few opportunities for retail expansion or growth.”
Brunette said the other positive is the development is taxable property.
“Established businesses in the 12th District, one of the other advantages of this particular business is that it is a taxable property,” he said. “Not property that is held in tax-exempt federal trust. So, not only will the city have some retail opportunities on that parcel, but it is also tax-generating. So, we as a city and all the other entities of government can generate revenue from that parcel.”
Brunette said he looks forward to Harbor Freight Tools “being in the neighborhood.”
“I personally will patronize them,” he said. “I think it is a positive in many ways for the city and the residents out here on the far west side.”
Hoffman said the discount tool retailer plans to hire between 25 and 30 employees.
“We already know from our experience that Green Bay is a great community in terms of hiring talented associates,” he said. “another reason that helped us decide to open this second location.”
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The only concern Brunette said he might have with the development is traffic.
“The only concern obviously is traffic around that entire West Mason, Packerland area, but I’m confident that the city and the company have considered that,” he said.
Brunette said the city and county are working in partnership to improve the traffic flow around Mason and Packerland, which includes the frontage roads.
“If there are any traffic issues, we would have known about it because Planet Fitness was extremely active in their business,” he said. “So I’m convinced if there are any issues with traffic, that will be addressed between the city and the county.”