Shopko Bankruptcy

Shopko announced today that they had filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection.  This was not a huge surprise as the company has been struggling for years.  The company announced the closure of 105 stores.  As is often the case with these announcements, there is a rush to see if “your Shopko (or Sears, Kmart, etc.) is closing.”

On a recent road trip in eastern Oregon and Washington, I traveled through Walla Walla, WA. and visited a Shopko store.  The store is located in the Wall Walla Town Center, a recently redeveloped mall.  Prior to redevelopment it was the Blue Mountain Mall that had opened in1989, was considered a “dead mall” in the 2000s and went bankrupt in 2012. While the Walla Walla store that I visited will remain open, the store itself has the feeling one gets as of late in a Sears or Kmart.

It did not help that it was located next to this Gottschalks store.

Gottschalks went bankrupt themselves in July of 2009.  This store has been vacant for nearly 10 years adjacent to the Shopko.

Location, location, location.

 

Muji in PDX

Muji of Japan recently opened a store in a storied retail location.  The store is located in the 100 year old Meier & Frank building in downtown Portland returning a “department store” to this respected storefront.

The name is derived from Mujirushi (no-brand) Ryōhin (quality goods), Muji is noted by its design minimalism, emphasis on recycling, avoidance of waste in production and packaging, and no-logo or “no-brand” policy.

Inventory includes men’s and women’s clothing, home furnishings, food and stationary items. Also included in the store is a coffee shop and an alteration center.

It’s in my blood.

Ralph & Rachel Kittel behind the counter

Some of my earliest memories are of retail. Or more specifically, the general store that my grandparents owned in Forest, WI.  My grandfather Ralph passed away in 1967 and they had sold the store several years earlier, so my memories are vague at best since I would have been less than 5 years old.  It was a cold water building with an outhouse out back but to me it was the most amazing place.