Fourth of July weekend welcomes long-awaited Waupaca hardware store
WAUPACA, Wis. (WBAY) - A family-owned business has completed its takeover of the empty Shopko store in Waupaca. After both the Shopko and local Kmart closed within a year of each other in 2019, the store opening is coming as a relief to many shoppers.
The new store, Everyday Hometown, at 825 W. Fulton Street had its soft opening this morning, July 2, before the rush of the Fourth of July weekend. The preliminary excitement from customers has been encouraging to some business leaders.
“Several years ago, we lost both of our department stores so to have Everyday Hometown open up in Waupaca is just outstanding,” president of the Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce, Terri Schulz, said. “It will be a great location for people to grab those everyday needs that you forget at the last minute. Or when you remember you’ve got to have a quick gift.”
We first showed you the effort underway at Everyday Hometown in April 2021. (Click here for the full story). The time saving conveniences will only continue to grow as the store plans to double its workforce of about 10 employees over the next few months. The new hires will report to business owners Jim and Kathy Becker’s daughter, Brianna.
“I moved up here in January and I love it,” said Brianna Becker, the store’s manager. “I have seen how needed it is. I’m so used to having a department store around to go for the basic things and we hope that it’s good for everyone to have something so they don’t have to drive 30 minutes all the time to get the items they need.”
Mary Schumacher has been working at Everyday Hometown since April 2021 but has lived in Waupaca almost 25 years. When both Shopko and Kmart closed, shopping in her hometown was unlike the scene of excitement at the soft opening of her current place of employment.
Back in 2019 and 2020, “it was very hard,” Schumacher explained. “Especially if people needed everyday items, utensils, or home decorations you just didn’t have it. We had to travel either to Steven’s Point or Appleton to get it. To have Everyday Hometown come in is incredible.”
Others are also noticing the expanse of goods now stocked. Lightbulbs, couches, fishing poles, patriotic colored shorts, and more line the aisles. “I took a walk around and it’s just amazing the products and the selection that is here,” vice president of tourism for the Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce, Mitchell Swenson, said. “If you’re in the area stop in and support this new business. They have sporting goods, hardware, tools, furniture, and clothing. It’s just amazing.”
Having Brianna Becker continue the family’s vision of bringing essentials to a community that had few other options, is a lofty task at 24-years-old. She said she feels ready to handle the newest addition to the family collection of local businesses like their smaller hardware store in Monroe, Wisconsin and her father’s own line of “Bad Boy Lawn Mowers.”
“I went to school for business and have been around my dad’s businesses forever pretty much since I was little,” Becker said. “I kind of grew up around it and have seen him do a lot of different things. I was born and raised into it and am ready to take over, I guess.”
Everyday Hometown will continue to welcome customers for the rest of the summer with a larger opening anticipated for fall. To visit their website click here.
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