Sunday, December 6, 2009

"BlogKo" re-launches as "The ShopKo Fan Club"

Hello everyone! I've got some news for you! "BlogKo" has been re-launched as "ShopKo Fan Club" to reach out to a wider ShopKo store fan base, much like how the Ames Fan Club reaches out to the Ames store fan base and how Groceteria reaches out to fans of grocery stores and supermarkets like Kroger, Safeway, Red Owl, A&P, etc., or like how News Plus Notes reaches out to fans of theme parks like Six Flags Great America, Nickelodeon Universe, Kings Island or the like. The new name also moves the focus away from Wisconsin retail history. We will be talking more about ShopKo and other retailers here when time allows. Under the name change, we will blog more about the ShopKo stores from Wisconsin to Washington, as well as the shopping malls in Wisconsin and other nearby states, as well defunct Midwest regional retailers like ShopKo's rival Prange Way, and other subjects.

Happy Holidays!

~~Justin Hill (a.k.a. The ShopKo Fan)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Say hello to a good blog about ShopKo at BlogKo!

I'd like to introduce you to my relaunched blog a revised article on the history of ShopKo. Currently the nation's largest regional retailer, ShopKo was established in 1961 by pharmacist James Ruben, formerly of Chicago, Illinois, who had envisioned a discount store combined with a pharmacy and eye care center. ShopKo was originally going to be called Shopco, but the name was changed immediately following his announcement. The first ShopKo location opened in Green Bay, Wisconsin on Military Avenue in 1962. ShopKo opened its second Green Bay location on the east side on Main Street (later Copps Food Center, torn down for new location) in 1966, which moved to its current location on East Mason Street next to East Town Mall in 1988. In 1971, ShopKo announced plans to merge with SuperValu of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The merger lasted until 1997, when the buy-back from SuperValu was completed. That same year, ShopKo's corporate headquarters opens on Pilgrim Way in Ashwaubenon. ShopKo's primary rivals from their beginnings in the 1960s to the 1990s were Kmart, Copps Discount Stores, and the H.C. Prange-owned Prange Way, who wound up in a discounter tug-of-war with ShopKo in much of the 1970s, 1980s, and up until their demise in the mid 1990s. In 1979, ShopKo opens its Ashwaubenon store on Oneida Street. This location is part of a shopping center known as Bay Park Square which has been set to open in fall 1980. ShopKo teamed up wtith SuperValu to open up a hypermarket, called Twin Valu, in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Twin Valu was similar to Wal-Mart's Hypermart-USA and Supercenter concepts, as it contained general merchandise on one end, and groceries on the other. When ShopKo opened its 100th store in 1990, ShopKo became a publicly held company. Competition from other retailers like Wal-Mart and Target soon followed when ShopKo expanded outside of the Midwest. In 1991, ShopKo introduced a new merchandising strategy, Vision 2000, as well a new logo, which utilizes the Crillee Extra Bold Italic font, as well as the colors, red white, and blue. In 1996, ShopKo announced a deal to merge with Youngstown, Ohio-based PharMor, which fell apart in 1997. ShopKo went back into expansion mode when they bought out Penn-Daniels Inc., owner of Jacks Discount Stores. ShopKo enters a few new markets with the acquisition of many former Venture locations in 1998. In late 1999, ShopKo opens up a new prototype store in Meridian, Idaho, a suburb of Boise. ShopKo opened its first stand alone pharmacy, ShopKo Express, in Ledgeview, Wisconsin in 2003. In 2005, all three Colorado locations close, and two of the tree have been converted to JCPenney. In 2007, ShopKo introduces a new logo, sans the CamelCase "K", and a prototype store in Suamico, Wisconsin, which opened in 2008, featuring a slew of new features, such as smaller checkouts.

Vision 2000: ShopKo in the '90s

In 1991, a new era began for ShopKo. ShopKo introduces its new transformation program, dubbed "Vision 2000." Vision 2000, introduced by ShopKo COO William Podany as a form of "organization shock treatment," consisted of an overhaul of the entire ShopKo chain, which included a transformation of their existing store base, from orange, red, and yellow to red, white, navy blue, and battleship gray with a new Crillee font-based logo, while opening new prototype stores with the new look and logo, like the one pictured above, located in River Falls, Wisconsin. ShopKo also plans to re-merchandise the existing stores with a better selection of merchandise. The strategy also included a rebuilding of the logistics and distribution systems, the development of world-class strategic systems, the development of a leading-edge health services segment, and a sharpening of merchandise in five opportunistic areas, including apparel, home, health, seasonal, and everyday basics. ShopKo introduced a Merchandising Doctrine, which had one goal, which was to create a symbiotic and synergistic relationship between the ShopKo discount stores and their corporate headquarters in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The new strategy presented a challenge, not only to be different from their competition, but to do things better in a small box. ShopKo has already benefited from its category dominance strategy, even though it had to mean an exit from a number of successful hardlines businesses. The new prototypes combine high quality with low prices, although it won't be comparable to the marts, since it will be the lowest price available.

Here's a small list of the ShopKo Vision 2000 prototype stores that have opened in the 1990s:

Sheboygan, WI
Duluth, MN
Dixon, IL
Loveland, CO
Longmont, CO
Lacey, WA
Marshall, MN
Mitchell, SD
Monroe, MI
Houghton, MI
Fort Collins, CO
Wenatchee, WA
Hastings, NE
Marinette, WI
Delavan, WI
River Falls, WI
Beaver Dam, WI

Sunday, August 16, 2009

East Town Mall: Past, Present and Future - Part 3: Extreme Makeover (and more updates)

Hello, everyone! I haven't had much time to blog in the past few weeks. I have been busy moving my foster family into a new house this summer, working, etc. I now live on the east side of Green Bay.

I would like to conclude my three-part East Town mall blog with the ongoing makeover at East Town.

I was surprised at how far they came with the renovations, and how far they came. The mall directories have been updated, the center court has a new look, the east court over by Hobby Lobby and Budget Cinema is currently being remodeled. Gnome Games, a local retailer of card and board games opened up in the space formerly occupied by Claire's Accessories. Kohl's had unfortunately decided to seal their mall entrance in the back, due to a corporate decision. The mall has seen lots of activity around the center court. I like the direction this mall is taking, in fact, it was better than the direction the Port Plaza Mall (later Washington Commons) took. I like the proposed makeover for the main entrance to East Town. I've seen another mall similar to East Town, located in Appleton, Wisconsin, known as the Northland Mall. That is also a great example of a shopping mall with space being put to good use, with only a few vacancies in between. I've seen that mall hold it's own, with its anchors, ShopKo and Kohl's, as well as the spaces in between being used for a few specialty shops, restaurants, a branch of the police department, and a karate academy. I could possibly see these types of places in East Town in the future, given that the mall already has a cinema. With all the available space between ShopKo, Budget Cinema, and Petco, I would like to see a food court replace that grassy area and parking lot, since there is enough parking at the front of the mall. The food court could possibly accomodate a mall entrance for ShopKo into East Town Mall, as well as continue onward to the Budget Cinema to the west of ShopKo. I hope you enjoyed the conclusion to this blog.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

ShopKo Store #001: ShopKo's original store (and updates, too!)

I decided to take a break from creating blogs on East Town Mall to give you a look at the original ShopKo store location on 216 Military Ave. in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Although it may not look like much, the store still has the previous logo used from 1992 to 2007, and it also has an unusual appearance, with a two story storage room tower facing the railroad tracks. The store was built in 1962, and currently holds the record for the nation's oldest ShopKo store. There is also a plaque commemorating its status as the oldest location in the front entrance, on the left wall. A supermarket, known as Sure Way (later Jubilee Foods) shared the building until 2004, and still remains vacant to this day. The store itself, has an L-shaped floorplan with a front and back entrance. The store still continues to operate, despite its dated appearance (I do hope they remodel this store in the future). The store has a different layout from most newer ShopKo locations, the clothing departments are on the right side of the store, the home furniture department is located near the storage tower, the toy department is located in the back, the candy & grocery department is located near the optical center and pharmacy, the electronics department is located towards the center of the store, and customer service is located near the bathrooms, rear entrance, and the employee break room. The store also has a high-rise sign on the parking lot that can be seen from the alley between Toys "R" Us and the abandoned Cub Foods near where the Batters' Box used to be. A sign like that is quite unusual for the fact that it looks like a sign you'd see along the Interstate. If you want to see more pictures, please check out my page at Flickr (Sponge1987).

If you have anything to add, please comment.


On a side note, I've also updated the appearance of my blog, including a more detailed profile of myself. I also added a few new features, including some news links off to the side. I would also like to thank those people who I invited to the page. Thanks for your support. :)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

East Town Mall: Past, Present and Future (Part Two): The Missing Skylight

East Town Mall's layout has changed radically since its opening 1982, having been through a few renovations since the late 1990s, a few years after Prange Way went under. As you can tell by the pictures below, you can see that a diagonal seating court has been removed, in order to give Office Max some space in the mall. The parallelogram-shaped skylight has been boarded up, but the top of it can still be seen in aerial photographs of the mall itself.
The skylight which was sealed up during the mall's big makeover in the late 1990s,
inside Office Max. The tiles were cut off before Office Max.

The two pictures above show what remains of the gutted seating court before Prange Way's entrance.

I hope all of you enjoyed the second part of my blog about East Town Mall. Stay tuned for Part Three.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

East Town Mall: Past, Present, & Future (Part One)

Hello everyone! Long time, no update. I would like to begin with this blog on East Town Mall, a tiny shopping center in Green Bay, Wisconsin located on 2350 East Mason Street that opened in 1982, and is recently undergoing a big renovation. East Town Mall's original anchors included Prange Way and Kohl's. Original tenants included DEB, Thom McAn, id, Braun's, Little Professor Book Center, Radio Shack, Scanlan Jewelers, Master Cuts, Claire's Accessories, Regis Hairstylists, GNC, Hallmark Gold Crown, and Payless ShoeSource as well as few others, including some restaurants, clothing boutiques, record stores, and stores from other categories. East Town Mall's popularity has waxed and waned over the years, since Green Bay had a few other shopping malls, such as Port Plaza, Bay Park Square, and Green Bay Plaza, as well as countless strip malls and big box stores like Wal*Mart, Kmart, and the regional favorite, ShopKo.

Here's a list of tenants that have been located at East Town Mall in the past 20 years:
Department Stores
  • Prange Way
  • Kohl's
Clothing, Shoes, Accessories & Jewelry
  • Payless Shoes
  • Thom McAn
  • Scanlan Jewelers
  • Claire's
  • id
  • DEB
  • Casual Corner
  • Braun's
  • Fashion Bug
  • Christopher & Banks
Toys, Hobbies, & Gifts
  • Toy Works
  • Teddy's Imaginary Friends
  • Hallmark
  • Hobby Lobby
  • Consign It!
  • Magical Moments
  • Wirlwind Wonders
  • Turquoise Leathers & Treasures
  • Schroeder's FTD Flowers
  • Spirit Halloween Superstore
  • Budget Cinema
  • Radio Shack
  • Little Professor Book Center
  • Dave's Book Center
  • Video Game Kingdom
  • National Record Mart
  • Inside Home Furnishings
Office Supplies
  • Office Max
Health & Beauty
  • Glamour Nails
  • Regis
  • GNC
  • Bath & Body Works
  • Master Cuts
Pet Supplies
  • PetCo
Dollar Store
  • Dollar Tree
Restaurants & Food Specialty
  • Schlotzsky's Deli
  • Great Lakes Sandwich Co.
Services & Professional
  • Beneficial
  • Community Resources
  • Mall Office
If you have some stores that were located at East Town Mall to add to this list, please reply. I do remember a pizza place and an ice cream shop, but do not recall the names of them.