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Building owner wants a good fit in Morris

Carol Maxwell and her husband Bruce were looking for a retirement investment when she bought the Shopko building in Morris in May of 2018.

Maxwell lives in Lakeport, California, a town with an estimated population of about 4,700.

"We live in a small town," Maxwell said. Lakeport is on the threshold of losing its KMart, so Maxwell said she understands the loss of a Shopko to Morris and the surrounding area.

"I was just so extremely disappointed that Shopko didn't make it through bankruptcy," she said.

Now, Maxwell owns an empty building that she hopes can be filled by something appropriate and best for Morris.

Maxwell seems to be protecting the community as well as her own interests as she considers potential buyers or tenants.

A potential tenant or buyer "has to be someone who will serve the community...and they have to do well," Maxwell said.

That could be a national, regional or local retailer, or a local manufacturer or business that needs more operational room, storage room or something similar, Maxwell said.

A business that is outgrowing its space is a benefit to the community and could be a good fit, Maxwell said.

Maxwell said she's been approached by several interested parties but no sale has happened. There's always been some sort of hitch or change to stall the process, she said.

She's been talking with a lease agent in Minneapolis for a few months and recently signed a contract with the agent.

"We are trying to make this work with a purchase or a tenant," Maxwell said. She said she'd sell the building at a reasonable price.

Maxwell said the loss of Shopko was made even more frustrating because the local store was doing well financially. Maybe she was naive when she bought the building, unaware of the depth of the Shopko's financial problems. Still, she said, when she bought Shopko was good for the community and the community supported it.