Shopko shoppers saddened

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Ekness

One day after the announcement that Shopko will close all of its stores in early June, the Coeur d’Alene location was full of shoppers.

“It’s no surprise,” said Keith Ekness of Coeur d’Alene, who said he doesn’t usually shop at Shopko but was curious about potential sales after he heard about the upcoming closure.

Ekness said he makes minor purchases at brick and mortar stores, but for specific items, he shops online.

Though Ekness said he’s sad to see stores like Shopko going out of business, he noted that online shopping is often cheaper and more convenient. For shoppers like Ekness, who is always looking for a bargain, buying at retail chains doesn’t always make sense.

“I’m a thrift store shopper,” he said. “It has to be a good deal.”

Other shoppers were regulars at the retail chain, like Sandra Robertson of Coeur d’Alene, who said she visits Shopko frequently for clothes and home decor items. She said she likes Shopko’s selection and affordable prices.

“I’m 83 years old and I don’t want to look like an 83-year-old lady in a house dress,” she said with a laugh.

Robertson said she was saddened by the news of Shopko’s closing, just as she was when Kmart closed the doors of its Coeur d’Alene location. Stores that offer quality items at affordable prices are important to consumers, she said.

“I hated that,” she said of Kmart’s closing. “I cried when they went. When you don’t have a lot of money, you could buy things that looked good.”

Coeur d’Alene resident Nadine Miller is also a Shopko regular.

“I have grandkids, so I look at a lot of their sales on kids’ clothes,” she said. “I used to get gift certificates for my daughters-in-law here.”

When Shopko closes in June, Miller said she isn’t sure where she’ll go instead.

“Kmart’s gone and I don’t shop at Target,” she said. “This was about the only one that I came to.”

For Tina Johnson, who lives in Priest River, Shopko’s closing feels personal.

“It has good memories for me because of my mom,” she said. “It was our favorite store, and she’s gone now. We loved to shop at Shopko.”

Johnson said she usually visits the Spokane locations. After learning in February that those stores would close in May, she said she hoped the Idaho locations would remain open. The announcement that all stores would soon shut their doors was disheartening, she said.

“It affects me personally, because it brings back memories to when I was a young mom, shopping with my mom,” she said. “It’s like the end of an era.”

Shopko’s expected closing date is June 16.

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