A ribbon cutting ceremony featured officials and Blanding Mayor Calvin Balch, but it was the shopping that most interested the visitors as they poured into the new store.
The Shopko Hometown is located in the building that previously housed Alco. The Blanding store has been closed for more than a year after the bankruptcy of Alco.
“This is a great opportunity for Blanding,” said Brett Hosler, the Blanding City Director of Community Development. “We look forward to a great long-term relationship with Shopko and hope to see additional retail growth.”
Shopko officials praised the local assistance that helped bring the store to Blanding. “We have had great assistance from the City of Blanding,” said Todd Stimpson, field coordinator for Shopko. “We look forward to being here for years and years.”
The Green Bay, WI-based retailer has traditionally had a presence in suburban areas, with larger stores in larger areas. But it is the smaller stores in rural areas that are increasing in number.
Interestingly, as Walmart has expanded into suburban areas, Shopko is looking to expand into rural areas, which were the initial strength of Walmart.
Shopko Hometown has a growth strategy in Utah and plans to expand into more rural areas. There currently are stores in Blanding, Moab, Delta, Beaver, Nephi and Tremonton. The Blanding, Moab and Delta stores are in previous Alco locations.
The retailer has a large mix of name brand household goods and features an extensive array of active-wear shoes. Brands include Adidas, Puma, Reebok, and Nike and a full range of Payless shoes.
“We have a wide range of brand name goods,” said Stimpson. “It is a different mix than Alco. We also really focus on seasonal goods.”
Randy Hart is the store manager of the Shopko Hometown. Hart was the manager of the Alco before it closed and has spent the past year working at the Shopko Hometown in Moab.
The retail store will employee 31 workers eventually , including seven fulltime employees.
At the grand opening, the Shopko Foundation presented a $2,500 check to San Juan High School. Officials state that the foundation can support additional opportunities in the future.