Friday, January 11, 2013

Just call me Marie Antoinette

Those scissors wouldn't cut soup, by the way.

If I'd had the courage of my convictions, I'd have been standing out there in line with the early-morning bargain hunters yesterday morning, awaiting the 9 a.m. grand opening of Chariton's new ShopKo Hometown. But it was cold. And I was wearing a light jacket. And Chamber-Main Street types had been especially invited to the celebration.

So I averted my eyes and followed another board member inside to stand around where it was warm to wait for the official door-opening moment. Let them eat cake (or in this case, cookies, doughnuts and coffee, available on a table just outside the door).

My goal at every Chariton photo opportunity is to either take a picture of Bill --- or end up in one of his.

I don't think anyone outside really minded. It wasn't that cold, the program was mercifully brief and the first hundred customers through the door got gift cards for their trouble.

ShopKo's grand opening was really good news for Chariton --- and the small-town locations of the other 26 new Hometowns that grand opened yesterday morning from Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee on the east to western Nebraska on the other side.

The smaller-town Hometowns are scaled back versions of flagship ShopKos that have been around for a long time (the firm is headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where the first store opened in 1962) and grew out of the company's decision to buy out Pamida more than a year ago.

Several Pamida stores that were considered marginal by the new owners, including those in Corydon and Albia, were closed --- but Chariton's made the cut and has been transitioning over the last few months into ShopKo.

It really is a great store --- clean, bright, nicely arranged and well-stocked. The old Pamida was beginning to fray around the edges and from an aesthetic standpoint, this is a considerable improvement. I'm really happy with the merchandise, too. So far, everything I've been looking for has been there.

It's also nice to see familiar faces, since most of former Pamida staff made the transition to ShopKo.

So after opening remarks by a ShopKo regional manager (there's a regional distribution center in Omaha), Chamber director Shantel Dow and the new Hometown manager, plus presentation of a ShopKo Hometown Foundation check for $2,500 to Chariton Community Schools, the doors were opened and everyone lined up outside came inside.

I decided to come back later in the day to pick up a few things, so headed home --- past the cookie table (OK, so I took two).

By the way --- there's no indication whatsoever that the unfortunate Marie Antoinette actually said, "let them eat cake," or anything remotely similar. But even if she didn't, she should have.


Martin Buck said...

I missed coffe and donuts? I should start to read my e-mails.

Anonymous said...

Looks very much like the Pamida turned Shopko Hometown that just opened in Libby, Montana