Several ShopKo employees, including Barb Wilcox, second from right, cut the brown ribbon Thursday morning during the grand opening of the store. Leader photo/ALY GIBSON

Archived Story

Store reopens doors as ShopKo

Published 6:09pm Thursday, October 18, 2012

A line traced the front of the former Pamida store, 56419 Pokagon St., Dowagiac, Thursday morning as customers waited anxiously for the chance to check out the newly converted ShopKo Hometown store.

Over the course of a 12-week liquidation and five-week conversion process, the 35,000-square-foot building was transformed from Pamida to ShopKo, which purchased the discount chain department store in 1999. The conversion process affected more than 190 Pamida stores in the United States, five of which closed. According to press releases from ShopKo, more than $80 million was invested into the conversion process for all the stores, which included signage and product line upgrades. After sales of older products and a store makeover, the new look was debuted to residents and city officials.

“It feels awesome,” Barb Wilcox, ShopKo store manager, said of the community turn-out. “It’s wonderful that people came out to join us.”

Wilcox also highlighted that the store offers more name brands and a wider selection of higher-quality apparel.

“We have an awesome selection for customers,” Wilcox said. “Brands like Nike, Reebok, Adidas … we also increased our clothing sections.”

Dowagiac resident Cheri Shepard noticed the higher-quality products.

“It’s very nice,” Shepard said. “The store is nice, airy, clean.”

Charlene Angell, also of Dowagiac, said she came early to see the grand opening and see what was offered.

“We love it (the store),” Angell said. “They had a good variety, but it’s much better now, 100 percent better.”

Merchandise supervisor and community relations specialist Stephanie Bundy said the first 100 customers in line received a $10 gift card to the store, but she didn’t expect so many people to come out in the chilly, wet weather.

“It was amazing how many people showed up,” Bundy said. “I was pleasantly surprised.”

Bundy said having the strong community support is vital to the store.

“It’s how we run our business and keep our doors open,” Bundy said. “We have some very loyal customers.”

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