Letter to the editor: Reader says, Let’s save Perry Shopko!

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Shopko Stores Operating Co. LLC filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy Jan. 16, but the Perry store is not among the Iowa stores slated for closure in March and April.

To the editor:

I’m sure you’ve heard that Shopko announced more store closings last week. About 70 percent of all stores are now slated to be closed. According to a “Go Forward List” that can be found online, only 12 Iowa stores are continuing normal operations. The Perry Shopko is on that list. Twenty-four Iowa stores are currently being liquidated.

Before I go further, I need to clarify my connection to Shopko. Those of you who know me have likely seen me working in the Perry Shopko. I am not employed by Shopko nor am I privy to any inside information. I am employed by American Greetings, and I merchandise product at several locations, including the Perry Shopko. I am not privy to any inside information about Shopko through my employer.

I am a Perry Shopko customer.

Things aren’t looking good for Shopko.

I heard a rumor that there was another community whose Shopko was slated to close and that community somehow supported Shopko to the point their store is now remaining open.

I’m no fool. I realize if Shopko fails to find a buyer, they very likely won’t survive. But . . . if they have a fighting chance, maybe it’s time for Perry to support our Shopko the way our Shopko has been here supporting the community of Perry.

Our Shopko generates an amount of sales tax that I cannot even try to guess at.

Our Shopko exists in a sort of harmony with our revitalized and thriving downtown businesses. It doesn’t pose a threat like a Walmart would but provides a wide variety of products that otherwise might not be found locally.

Our Shopko is there for last-minute needs with a sense of camaraderie and a bit of humor. Case in point: I was at Shopko with my elementary-school-aged daughters the evening before school picture day due to a wardrobe issue. I was there in the girls clothing section along with other moms I know, and my daughters were selecting more favorable items alongside their friends and classmates.

There was no time for any driving to Des Moines. There was a group of moms doing last-minute mom duties like moms do. And we were able to do that alongside each other, chuckling about it in our own community.

The Perry Police Department holds a Shop with A Cop event every Christmastime. Our Shopko is one of the stores where children are taken to shop.

Every kid who was downtown for Spooktacular got candy from Shopko.

When a water main broke and affected the elementary school, Shopko provided clean drinking water for our children alongside Hy-Vee and Fareway.

I don’t know much about the Shopko Foundation but from what I can tell, the Perry Community School District has benefitted financially as has the community of Woodward by way of funds to help provide school supplies for struggling families.

From my viewpoint, Shopko is good for Perry and our neighboring smaller communities.

I know there are people who don’t care for Shopko and people who complain that the prices are too high.

I don’t find the prices to be out of line. Of course, I don’t expect “Walmart prices” because I know smaller retailers simply cannot compete with Walmart.

Shopko has great deals if you look for them. My ex-husband is much more likely than myself to shop for a bargain. He purchased tablets for all three of our young children for Christmas. He purchased them on Black Friday from Perry Shopko. He said it was a good deal, and it was convenient.

My work takes me to Jefferson. Although the population is about half of Perry’s, there are many similarities. Jefferson’s Shopko closed last summer. The building now sets empty. Through conversations I’ve had with locals, I can tell you they miss their Shopko. They are left with very little in the way of local shopping establishments and are forced to drive for needed products. It’s unfortunate.

I’m holding onto hope. I don’t want to have to drive to a Walmart. I don’t want to see an empty storefront in Perry. I don’t want to see people with financial limitations or travel issues unable to find products they need locally. I don’t want to see the Shopko staff members whom I have developed relationships with lose their jobs. I want to walk into Shopko and stop and talk with my friends and neighbors while we shop.

I don’t want to lose that.

For all the complaints, there are a lot of people who shop our Perry Shopko. Please keep shopping our local store. Keep supporting it. Because it might be the only way we keep it. And sometimes it is true — You really don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.

Barb Snyder
Perry

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