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Area towns plan ahead for Shopko closing

REGIONAL — As Shopko reaches the end of its days, regional communities are beginning to consider what will become of the vacated buildings.

The Luverne and Pipestone buildings are both owned by The Christensen Corporation.

Treasurer Carol Christensen said the company would like to sell or lease both buildings.

“It’s got to be the right business,” she said. A number of factors determine what might be a good fit.

Location is key for any business, and each of the area Shopko buildings is in a prime location near a major thoroughfare. Christensen added that the zoning designation of each building affects what kind of business can use the space.

Another factor, she said, is what kind of financing is available. For example, the Pipestone building is in a “opportunity zone,” where tax breaks are offered as an incentive to bring in business.

“It’s a matter of who can take a chance,” Christensen said.

The city of Luverne is hoping a grocery store will take the chance, she added. Many Luverne residents drive to Sioux Falls, S.D. to buy groceries, and would like a second option in town to offer them more choices.

Luverne is not alone in this desire.

Windom EDA Executive Director Drew Hage sent out an update last month that addressed the desire for a second grocery store in Windom. He said the Shopko building has many possible re-uses.

Hage said while the EDA is working with the owner to explore several leads, there are no specific plans for the building yet.

Worthington is in a similar situation.

WREDC Executive Director Abraham Algadi said “the site is very attractive” and there is interest from multiple parties.

“It represents an incredible opportunity for the community,” Algadi said. He hopes that whatever business ends up in the space invites passersby to check out Worthington.

Algadi’s hopeful attitude is echoed by each stakeholder.

Curt Strouth, EDA Director in Sheldon, Ia., agreed that “we’re looking at it as an opportunity.”

He said the EDA is working to market the property, hoping to “fill the void that Shopko leaves — and it’s a pretty big void.”

The Sheldon location is on Highway 18, “right through the heart of Sheldon,” he added. The location is ideal for almost any company.

Strouth was also careful to point out what Shopko’s closing does not mean.

“It’s definitely not a reflection of the communities involved,” he said.

Strouth concluded that Shopko’s closing is a chance for the community to work together to bring in something new.