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Morris Shopko to close Sunday, June 23

The shelves of Shopko were getting empty on Friday, June 21. The front portion of the store still had items but more than half of the store was empty as it will close on Sunday, June 23. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times1 / 2
Signs in the window of the Shopko in Morris on Friday, June 21. Shopko is slated to close on Sunday, June 23. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times2 / 2

Eileen Bayer of Morris was filling a shopping cart with items Friday morning at Shopko in Morris in anticipation of the store's closing.

"It's very sad. It's a great loss for Morris," Bayer said.

The Shopko is closing at the end of the business day on Sunday, June 23. All Shopko stores are closing as part of the company's bankruptcy. Shoppers in Morris have known for a few months the store was closing and it was difficult news for shoppers such as Bayer.

"Not very good," shopper Matt Fluegel said of his feeling about the store's closure.

"It was convenient to have the store in town," he said.

"It's awful. This is are go to (place) for wedding gifts, birthday gifts...," Molly Fluegel, Matt's wife said.

For shoppers Ashley Hoppe and Carrie Sanasack of Graceville, Shopko was the go-to place after a workday in Morris.

Employee Rhonda Lange, who has worked at the store for more than 35 years, said customers have been sharing their disappointment and sadness about the closure. "Everybody's bummed out," she said.

What makes the local closure even more frustrating is that the store was successful, Lange said.

But like shoppers, Lange is resigned to the store's fate. "I don't have any choice," Lange said of losing the store and her job.

Shopko's closure prompts questions of what's next for the building, shoppers and the employees.

The Fluegels said they will likely making more shopping trips to Alexandria, which is about 45 miles away from Morris. Hoppe and Sanasack said they too will be making more shopping trips to Alexandria. It's not something the four shoppers really want to do, they said.

"There's been a lot of questions about what's coming next," Lange said.

What could fill the Shopko space is unknown, she said. The same is true about any possible new retailer coming into Morris.

"I think people realize that the (former) Coborn's was empty for so long that it's going to take some time," Lange said.

The Coborn's store building was empty for about nine years until an out-of-state developer bought it and brought in several retailers including O'Reilly Auto Parts, BMobile and Dollar Tree. Coborn's closed in 2009.