Shopko to Close All Remaining Stores

Updated: March 18, 2019 10:29 PM

Shopko said Monday that all of its remaining locations will close, including a half-dozen stores in the Northland.

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Shopko filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on January 15 and has gone through three rounds of store closures in recent months, but the Northland locations had been spared until now.  There are Shopko stores in Duluth, Ely, Moose Lake, Two Harbors, Aitkin, and Spooner.

The court documents say all remaining stores will close by June 16. Shopko said it has hired a company to oversee a liquidation process that is expected to take 10 to 12 weeks.

For Duluth, the impending Shopko shutdown is the latest in a series of closures that has included Younkers, Sears, and Kmart - all of which resulted from broader corporate financial difficulties.

Cherie Daniel of Duluth said she buys just about everything at Shopko, from books to food to clothing. 

"I like the variety. I like the prices," Daniel said. "Seems like you can put an outfit together that there's everything from head to toe."

St. Louis County property records indicate the 119,000-square-foot Duluth store, constructed in 1993, is valued at nearly $3.7 million. The land on which it sits is valued at more than $2.3 million, for a combined value of just over $6 million.

Marsha Show and Katrina Hanson are from the Hibbing area but were shopping in Duluth Monday. 

"I try to stop every time I'm in Duluth because we find a lot of good bargains," Show said. 

"I've shopped them nationwide because we've been able to travel, my husband and I," Hanson said. "I love their summer clothes the most."

They pointed to a preference for virtual carts rather than the real ones. 

"Just one more big chain of stores that's gone and maybe it's because all of that online shopping. We're kind of losing those brick-and-mortars," Show said.

The other Shopko stores in the Northland are smaller-format locations that had been purchased from Pamida twenty years ago and later renamed Shopko Hometown.

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The Green Bay-based company said it made the decision to close the stores after being unable to find a buyer. It said it is committed to ensuring an orderly wind-down of operations.

"This is not the outcome that we had hoped for when we started our restructuring efforts," said CEO Russ Steinhorst said in a news release. "We want to thank all of our teammates for their hard work and dedication during their time at Shopko."

WLUK-TV reports the closings will affect 5,000 employees, on top of those who were already affected by the first three rounds of store closures.

In February, labor officials say nearly 600 Wisconsin workers would lose their jobs when Shopko Stores closed another 11 stores statewide in May.

Shopko began with a single store in Green Bay in 1962.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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