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.