Military Avenue has another big box to replace with Shopko's closure


    Shopko on Military Avenue on January 16, 2019. (WLUK)

    GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- The closure of Shopko's store on Military Avenue is another blow to an area that has grown used to big boxes shutting their doors.

    If you think about companies that shut down all or a lot of their stores in the last year or so: Toys “R” Us, Sears, and now Shopko, they all have locations on or near Military Avenue.

    “Military is kind of like the step kid that has been forgotten for a long time,” said Brian Rouse, owner of Bay Area Diamond Company.

    With Shopko shutting down across the street, Rouse sees opportunity for something new on Military Avenue, kind of like what happened in 1962 when Shopko chose the street for its first store.

    “I want something new to town,” said Rouse. “That would really help the area and that would be fantastic across the street.”

    Replacing a big box, however, isn't easy. Just look further up the street where the old Sears building has sat empty for nearly a year.

    Military Avenue Business District Executive Director Leah Weycker says the property owner has had only a couple people show interest in the old Sears building.

    “He's interested in tearing down or building something completely different, he's really wide open and that tells me that it's a difficult thing to rent one of those big stores out,” said Weycker.

    Weycker is hopeful there won't be a ripple effect down Military. She says that's because everything Shopko sells can be found at other businesses throughout the district.

    “The walkability part is going to be a little bit further for some people to go,” said Weycker.

    “Traffic counts here are great and the demographics, I can't really tell you the exact demographic, but there is a lot of saturation of people right here,” said Rouse. “I think the right person can make something fantastic go across the street.”

    One plus in this situation is Weycker says Shopko does not own the Military Avenue property. That means it should be quicker to do something else with it, versus if it was part of bankruptcy proceedings.

    The store is scheduled to close April 15.

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    Editor's note: A photo provided by the Neville Public Museum of Brown County and previously included in this story has been removed. Museum officials say they believe their information was incorrect and they now believe the photo shows a different ShopKo location, not the original store on Military Avenue.

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