ULYSSES, Kansas – In November Alco stores across the country closed after the company declared bankruptcy, but now three Kansas stores are getting a second chance from Shopko.
In Ulysses business is slow.
“We’re really battling,” said Tracy Teeter of her town, “We’ve had some great stores come in and we provide a service, and then something happens, we don’t get the support we need.”
So it isn’t surprising that the small town was disappointed when Alco closed its doors.
“When you have a business like that, that has employed a significant amount of folks, it’s a hardship on them as well as the community,” said Director of Grant County Chamber of Commerce Marieta Houser.
Luckily though for Ulysses, as well as Beloit and Abilene, decommissioned Alco’s will soon be opening as Shopko Hometown stores.
Shopko will employ 25-30 employees at each of their Kansas locations, and they say they encourage former Alco employees to apply.
The Wisconsin based retailer has been opening stores in rural areas since 2010.
“We’ve got a great little stores that offers a lot of goods and convenience for those in a smaller town so they don’t have to travel outside of their community,” said Michelle Hansen, Shopko Public Relations.
For Ulysses residents, resources in town are hard to come by. Locals say it isn’t uncommon to drive an hour to Garden City to buy groceries or specialty items a couple times a month.
“We have to go somewhere, we don’t enjoy what we have now,” Teeter said, “We’re hurting, but this Shopko’s got everybody [excited]!”
All three Kansas locations are set to open on March 27th.
Grand openings are planned for late March in the following locations:
• Burlington, CO • DeMotte, IN • Abilene, KS • Beloit, KS • Ulysses, KS • Mahnomen, MN • Moose Lake, MN • Wolf Point, MT • Bowman, ND • New Town, ND • Oakes, ND • Rolla, ND • Tioga, ND • Mobridge, SD • Andrews, TX • Dalhart, TX • Kermit, TX • Monahans, TX • Perryton, TX • Moab, UT
Once the addition of these 20 stores is complete, the company plans to accelerate the addition of new Shopko Hometown stores in the second half of 2015 and into 2016. There will be no change to Shopko’s current 178 Hometown stores.