Blain’s Farm & Fleet announced several promotions, including Mark Hasting to president and CEO and Kim Treece to chief stores officer. Jane Blain Gilbertson will assume the executive chair of the company’s Board and remain the sole owner of Blain’s Farm & Fleet and Blain Supply, Inc.

“The most important thing a leader must do is to plan for the organization’s next great leader,” said 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 occur over the next several months and be completed 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,” continued 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.”

Blain’s Farm & Fleet hired Mark Hasting in 2020 as chief stores officer responsible for store and auto service center operations. In 2022, he was promoted to chief commerce and operating officer, by which time his responsibilities had grown to include e-commerce operations, real estate, construction and facilities, and the retailer’s customer service center of excellence. In 2023, Hastin was promoted to president and chief commerce and operating officer, adding demand planning and supply chain to his responsibilities while taking on a greater strategic role in the company’s leadership.

As president and chief executive officer, Hasting will be responsible for all aspects of Blain’s Farm & Fleet and Blain Supply, Inc. He will continue to have support from the Independent Board, with Gilbertson now taking on the role of executive chair. “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, will be promoted to chief store 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 retail background 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 added, “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 significant growth in national e-commerce business and opened ten new stores, including five in Michigan, for 45 stores in total. Blain’s has increased the size of its employees from 3,500 to 5,500. The company’s investment in technology and distribution capacity also increased, with distribution capacity rising 50 percent to manage ongoing growth.

Jane advocates for promoting a customer-centric approach, “Neighbor-Focused,” which has led to innovations in Drive Thru Pick Up, Same-Day Delivery and the Blain’s app, making shopping more convenient. “If you are standing still, you will be run over. I am proud of the growth and innovation we have cultivated,” stated 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.”

Hasting has a strong background in retail leadership. He spent over 20 years working at Target, where he had many roles, including store manager, district team leader, group vice president and vice president of store operations. He was also the regional vice president at Starbucks and chief operating officer at Kum & Go.

Hasting has a BS in Marketing from Oklahoma State University and an MBA from Oklahoma City University. “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 Hasting. “Working with Jane these past four 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.”

Jane Blain Gilbertson seconded that thought stating, “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 a nationwide e-commerce business and 45 store locations throughout Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Images courtesy Blain’s Farm & Feet