Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Jim Orr 

End Appears Near For Kimball Shopko

 

January 10, 2019



If it weren’t already the case, the future for Kimball’s Shopko Hometown store appears certain to be short.

Consider:

• The store has begun selling off its fixtures.

• A banner across the front of the building says “CLOSING” in big, bold letters.

• The founder of a nearly 1,400-signature petition to save the store asked top Shopko executives this past week to reconsider their shutdown decision. The company replied that the “right decision” for Shopko “is to close the store.”

Nicole Sanneh of Kimball, who started the petition Dec. 19 on change.org, received the reply on the website this past week from Beverly Vander Velden of Shopko Communications and Customer Service.

The statement says in part:

“The decision to close a store is not an easy one for us and is only made after a careful study of the market and various economic factors. The right decision for Shopko, although extremely difficult, is to close this store. We have some great customers, great teammates, and will miss operating in the community.”

To that, Sanneh gave her own reply: “Sounds like they have made their decision without any reconsideration.”

Now what?

Shopko Stores Operating Co. told The Observer last month that the store at 1217 S. Highway 71 will close the end of February. Shelves inside are emptying. Liquidation sale discounts recently increased to as high as 50 percent.

Shopko announced plans in December to close 39 stores by the end of February due to long-term profit outlook, sales trends and potential growth. Shopko’s decision to reverse the once-planned closing of its Stanley, N.D., store offered some hope in Kimball, but nothing has come from it.

“I’m disappointed that they’re leaving,” Kimball City administrator Dan Dean told The Observer on Tuesday. “It’s both an economic and community loss.”

But Dean said the city, which as of Tuesday had not received a reply from Shopko to a correspondence, hopes that Kimball economic development efforts will help some good rise from the situation.

“We certainly hope so,” he said. “I don’t really have a good crystal ball, though.”

Dean said the department store building, which Shopko has rented, would be ideal for a farm and ranch store to set up shop. Kimball, located along Interstate 80 in the heart of a strong agricultural region, has no such business.

To help ease the transition after Shopko leaves, Dean said the city also has reached out to see if any local businesses would be interested in carrying products that Shopko has sold.

 

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