Shopko closures leave two strip malls without an anchor in the Fox Cities

Shopko anchors a strip mall in Menasha (WBAY photo)
Shopko anchors a strip mall in Menasha (WBAY photo)(WBAY)
Published: Jan. 16, 2019 at 7:50 PM CST
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Shopko's latest closing list includes both their Neenah and Menasha locations, where both stores serve as strip mall anchors.

Neither city is sure what could replace those stores, but at least one site is already the focus of a redevelopment project.

Neenah Mayor Dean Kaufert says every effort will be made to ensure the space along the I-41 corridor doesn't stay vacant.

"It's located conveniently, located right off the highway. It has a McDonald's close by, a Kwik Trip and everything. Hopefully they won't have any trouble filling it, but there's always that interim period," said Kaufert.

Kaufert also says he reached out to several companies, including Whole Foods, about coming to Neenah prior to Shopko's announcement.

"I did get a letter back from Whole Foods saying at this point the locations I had identified including one potential new development downtown didn't have enough square feet. So, this may change the game for some of them," added Kaufert.

In Menasha, the city says plans to redevelop the former Shopko Plaza will still move forward although the Shopko name will be dropped.

"It probably won't be a large retailer again. It will probably be split up into smaller... multiple smaller retailers, and the goal with the developer at that site is to do internet type proof developments, so he's looking for salons, for restaurants, for the gym that's there, fitness type activities you can't buy online," said Menasha Mayor Don Merkes.

The Menasha project hinges on the passing of a TIF district which is expected to go before the city council for a vote soon.