You don’t miss a good thing until it’s gone

By: 
Chuck Kajer, The New Prague Times

Last week’s story on the closing of the New Prague Shopko Hometown store drew a mixed reaction from many on social media.

On the New Prague Happenings Facebook page, dozens of people lamented the loss of the store, with some adding that they feel sorry for the employees. However there were some who posted their opinion that the store was not worth having in town, and said they hoped something better would replace it.

The bottom line is, New Prague was fortunate to have a store of this kind in the community. Retail is becoming much more difficult with the growing popularity of online shopping. Alco, which once occupied the same space in New Prague, went out of business, and Shopko is closing nearly two-thirds of their retail stores in an effort to remain competitive.

If you want to have shopping options in New Prague, you need to first support the stores that are here. At one time, New Prague had four hardware stores, six or more grocery stores and many other specialty stores. Now, we have one grocery store (along with several convenience stores that sell varying amounts of grocery items). There is one hardware store, located in what was once the largest grocery store in the community.

Some people used the New Prague Happenings page to discuss possible replacements - an ALDI store seems to always come up when people talk about what they’d like to see here. Other ideas floated around included Kohl’s, Target and Dollar Tree. Others pointed out that the New Prague market is likely not big enough to attract an ALDI, Kohl’s or Target.

Perhaps my favorite posting on Facebook regarding the closing came from a relatively new New Prague resident, who said she was excited to move into Praha Village with the Shopko store right across the street for convenience. She said when she found out it was closing, she decided to contact their customer service department. She was directed to send an email to shopko. online@shopko.com. Others responded that they would do the same. The timing does seem unfortunate, that a retail store would close just at the same time as a large senior housing project opens across the street. It will be interesting to see if Shopko responds to local inquiries. It will also be interesting to see what will become of this building if Shopko does not reconsider. We will revisit this in a column or article in the near future.

Regardless, it’s important to remember that if people want to have local shopping options, it is important that they utilize what they already have.

As the saying goes, you don’t miss a good thing until it’s gone.

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