Local efforts to fill vacant Shopko building continue

Even well prior to the June 23 closing of the Shopko location in Waukon, local efforts led by Waukon Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Director Ardie Kuhse to sustain the business were put in motion and have since transfered from preservation of the local business to occupancy of the now vacated property. Kuhse noted that contact was initially made with Shopko corporate leaders when the first announcement of store closings was made earlier this year - even though they did not include the Waukon location, reiterating the fact that Shopko was a vital part of the local business community and was  supported by the community and surrounding area by record sales.

“The sales did speak well for Waukon, and Waukon was spared the first and second round of store closings,” Kuhse said. “In the end, they could not restructure and no other corporate retail businesses stepped in to buy them out, thus the final closing of all stores and bankruptcy filing.”

Kuhse further explained that, according to her understanding, the Waukon Shopko property, along with other Shopko properties around the country, is not owned by the Shopko Corporation and therefore not a part of the bankruptcy proceedings. She said the property is now being marketed by a lender out of New York who is the exclusive real estate advisor to oversee the execution of all leasing, redevelopment, asset management and disposition activities for the current owners, who own 79 Shopko properties across 14 states.

“I keep in contact with them to monitor any activity that may be happening on our property here in Waukon,” Kuhse explained. “Part of what the lender company does is to farm out management of the local properties to a management company to do routine inspections of the Shopko properties and to contract for lawn and snow removal.”

Kuhse has continued to remain in contact with the property owners and is also diligently searching for a business or entity to fill the now vacated property. “From day one of the announcement of the final closings of all Shopko stores, I started on a mission to bring in a new business for Waukon,” she explained. “I have, to date, personally contacted over 20 retail entities to try to entice their location in our community. I am currently working with two interested parties, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed and certainly will not give up hope of once again having a viable business occupying the now vacated premises. This process takes time and is not easy, but we will be persistent in putting our feelers out there.”

Rate this article: 
No votes yet