HUMBOLDT - After four months of liquidation and renovation, the new Shopko Hometown store has opened in Humboldt, offering a fresh shopping experience for the community.
Located in the former Pamida building along Iowa Highway 3 on the north side of town, Shopko Hometown officially opened its full line of merchandise to the public during a grand opening celebration Thursday morning at the store.
The Green Bay, Wis.-based Shopko announced in January it would purchase the Pamida franchise, which includes more than 160 stores throughout Iowa and the western United States, gradually converting stores into Shopko Hometown. The merger was made official March 1. The transition of all stores is expected to be complete early next year.
-Messenger photo by Emilie Nelson-Jenson
Kathryn Spencer signs up to win a prize in the drawing for the grand opening celebration at the Shopko Hometown store in Humboldt Thursday morning.
The Humboldt store started its liquidation sale in July, and began conversion to Shopko Hometown on Oct. 21. The store temporarily closed its doors for a week, then reopened one department at a time, store Manager Lorie Baadte said.
"We opened each area one at a time," said Baadte. "We started with health and beauty, opened domestics about two weeks later and then the apparel sections."
Shopko Hometown stores include a greater inventory of products, as well as brands that were not previously available at Pamida stores, as part of an $80 million investment companywide.
"We're in our first full week of everything," said Baadte. "We carry a lot of name brands like Nike shoes and we now have LG TVs. Our apparel is more a quality of what you would find in a department store."
The renovated store also features new signage, a new interior, updated fixtures and an improved store layout.
"We had crews come in to move our counters, we have new carpet, new signs, and the departments have been moved around," said Baadte.
The store was opened for holiday shoppers on Thanksgiving and Black Friday as well.
"Those were two really good days for us," said Baadte.
The majority of the Humboldt Pamida employees came back to work for Shopko, along with an additional force of seasonal employees to handle the busier Christmas shopping season.
"We've maintained most of our employees, and even hired on 18 temporary holiday employees," Baadte said.
Thursday's grand opening offered $10 gift cards to the first 100 customers, in-store prize drawings that will continue through the weekend, and a chance to sign up for the Shopko Savings Rewards program to receive extra savings through email notifications and on their birthdays.
With the conversion to Shopko, Baadte said the store will also have more of a presence within the community.
"We love Shopko and what they have done for our store and our town," Baadte said. "We will be participating in community events, and this morning we presented a check to Humboldt High School for $2,500 through the Shopko Hometown Foundation."
"There has been a great deal of excitement in the community through the conversion process and we're excited to finally be bringing the Shopko Hometown experience to Humboldt," Shopko Interim Chief Executive Officer Mike Bettiga said in a press release. "We look forward to being part of the local community for years to come."