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Blain’s Farm & Fleet Announces Upcoming Leadership Changes

By Pet Age Staff//June 20, 2024//

Blain’s Farm & Fleet Announces Upcoming Leadership Changes

By: Pet Age Staff//June 20, 2024//

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Blain’s Farm & Fleet has announced the promotion of Mark Hasting to chief executive officer and president. Kim Treece will be promoted to chief stores officer. Jane Blain Gilbertson will take on a new role as executive chair of the board and will remain the sole owner of Blain’s Farm & Fleet and Blain Supply, Inc.

These promotions support the company’s desire to continue to grow as a family-owned organization where customers are treated as neighbors and associates are treated like family.

“The most important thing a leader must do is to plan for the organization’s next great leader,” said Jane Blain Gilbertson. “This succession plan was put into place four years ago when we hired Mark to join our company as our chief of stores. From the beginning, the entire company and our vendor partners could see Mark’s character, values, intelligence and love for this business. He learned our business quickly through his humility and curiosity, and I was especially pleased to observe his strength for developing others.”

The transition will take place over the next several months and will complete in September.

“We will transition over the summer, allowing me to visit every one of our 45 beloved stores and each of our distribution centers,” said Jane Blain Gilbertson. “I want a chance to say thank you to all of the amazing associates that serve our neighbors every day, and my daughters, who both work in our business, will join me for a number of these visits.”

Mark Hasting was originally hired in 2020 as chief stores officer with responsibility for store and auto service center operations. In 2022, he was promoted to chief commerce & operating officer, by which time his responsibilities had grown to include eCommerce operations, real estate, construction and facilities, and the customer service center of excellence. In 2023, he was promoted to president and chief commerce & operating officer adding both demand planning and supply chain to his responsibilities while also taking on a greater strategic role in the leadership of the company. In his new role as chief executive officer and president, he will have responsibility for all aspects of Blain’s Farm & Fleet and Blain Supply, Inc. He will continue to have support from the independent board with Jane Blain Gilbertson now taking on the role of executive chair of the board.

“This is the perfect arrangement,” said Nicole Gilbertson, daughter of Jane Blain Gilbertson and project management specialist at Blain’s. “I’m happy to see my mother take more time for herself to travel and enjoy life, and I’m glad she is going to continue to play an important role on the Board. Mark is a strong leader, and with Mark leading the company and my mother leading the board, and, of course, the entire family supporting him, we will have excellent balance and synergy.”

Kim Treece, previously senior vice president of stores, is being promoted to chief stores officer with responsibility for all stores and auto service centers, real estate, construction and facilities and the customer service center of excellence.

“I chose Kim to fill my previous role due to her enthusiasm and positive influence on store associates,” said Hasting. “Kim has a strong background in retail with 33 years in store and merchandising roles at Walgreens, but it is her compassionate leadership that makes her really shine.”

“We have full confidence in Mark and Kim,” said Sarah Gilbertson, daughter of Jane Blain Gilbertson and customer relationship marketing specialist at Blain’s. “The core of our family culture is that we treat our associates like family and our customers like neighbors, and Mark and Kim embrace that whole-heartedly.”

Nicole Gilbertson adds “My sister and I are committed to keeping Blain’s a high performing family-owned business. These changes provide the leadership we need to continue to grow while keeping family at the center of the organization.”

Under Jane’s leadership, Blain’s has driven huge growth in national Ecommerce business and opened 10 new stores, including 5 in Michigan, for a total of 45 stores. The Blain’s associate family has grown from approximately 3,500 to 5,500 employees. The company’s investment in technology enhancements and distribution capacity has increased significantly as well, with distribution capacity increasing 50 percent to manage ongoing growth. Jane has been a strong advocate for promoting a customer-centric approach, or as Blain’s calls it “Neighbor-Focused”, which has led to innovations in Drive Thru Pick Up, Same-Day Delivery and the Blain’s app, making shopping even more convenient.

“If you are standing still, you will be run over. I am proud of the growth and innovation we have cultivated,” says Jane Blain Gilbertson. “In fact, these leadership changes are part of that plan for growth. Four years ago, when we hired Mark, it was our desire to have a clear succession strategy as we were planning toward this transition. It is exciting to see it come to fruition.”

Mark Hasting brings impressive experience to this new role with a strong background in retail leadership. He spent over 20 years at Target, where he had many roles including Store Manager, District Team Leader, Group Vice President and Vice President of Store Operations. Mark has also served as regional vice president at Starbucks and chief operating officer at Kum & Go. He has a BS in Marketing from Oklahoma State University and an MBA from Oklahoma City University. Hastings is married and has three children.

“I am humbled and excited to take on this new role. It is my desire to continue the family culture to support the growth of Blain’s Farm & Fleet and our associates,” said Mark Hasting. “Working with Jane these past 4 years has taught me so much about leadership and culture. It is my honor to be a strategic partner to her and her family in continuing to help this amazing organization to thrive.”

And Jane Blain Gilbertson seconded that thought: “With Mark in the CEO role, I am confident we will continue to grow and thrive as a family-owned company delivering on our promise of making Blain’s a place where life is more rewarding. Next year, we will celebrate our 70th anniversary, and I know that we are just getting started.”

Founded in 1955, Blain’s Farm & Fleet is a retailer with nationwide ecommerce business and 45 store locations throughout Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan. This Modern General Store offers a wide variety of categories and services and unique experiences such as Toyland and a pet department that includes Purina, Blue Buffalo, Hill’s Science Diet, Iams, Canidae, Diamond, Taste of the Wild, Eukanuba, Freshpet and Kong.