Earlier this year Shopko filed for bankruptcy, and this week the company announced the closure of an additional 139 stores.
In total Shopko has closed or will be closing more than 250 stores, and ten of them will be in North Dakota.
But one community on the Western part of the state is trying to keep its store off the chopping block
The Shopko in Bowman, ND has 16 employees, and the store manager said the employees were notified on Wednesday that the store will be closing its doors in May.
“Quite surprised. I didn’t expect it. I always thought they were pretty busy,” said Jim Buchmann, Bowman resident.
An official with Shopko said the company will only keep open its top performing stores, as a result of “excess debt and ongoing competitive pressures”.
However, Teran Doerr, executive director Bowman County Development Corporation, said the closing of the Bowman store could have people traveling more than 70 miles to shop.
“We want to keep them shopping locally. Hettinger, ND, Baker, MT. Dickinson, ND would be the nearest locations for people to shop”.
Buchmann said he started shopping at the Shopko when it first opened just four years ago, and he would stop in about, “two to three times a week”.
The Wisoncon based retailer founded in 1962 offers everything from food to general merchandise and clothing, and Lyn James, president Bowman City Commission, said neighboring communities shop at Shopko, and the store’s closing could impact other businesses in Bowman.
“They shop at our grocery store. They come downtown, and so our trade would be affected”.
However, Doerr said the small rural community of fewer than 2,000 people is putting a plan together to keep its hometown Shopko open.
“We are hoping to get a hold of the owners of the building, and we are also reaching out to other communities(that have Shopko’s closing) to see what actions they have taken”.
Back in December the Shopko in Stanley, ND was on the chopping block, but the CEO of Shopko, Russ Steinhorst, said they reconsidered closing the store after receiving, “significant feedback from the community on the value of this Shopko store”, and “financial support from the landlord”.
Doerr hopes Bowman can also be successful in keeping its store open.
“People get everything there from clothing to birthday presents. You name it”.
Michelle Hansen, Shopko public relations, said the company plans to keep open 120 stores across fourteen states and “relocate approximately 50 optical centers in closing stores to new freestanding locations”, as it attempts to emerge from Chapter 11 “successfully”.
In a press release, the company also said, “Shopko has obtained up to $480M debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing from certain of its prepetition secured lenders, led by Wells Fargo, N.A. as administrative agent, to help fund and protect its operations during the Chapter 11 process”.
For a complete list of closures: http://info.shopko.com/
Shopko announces more closings